Salisbury, ranked third in DII, wasn’t in need of a confidence boost, but they got one by upending Maryland, ranked 12th in DI-AA, 30-27 Saturday.
A DI team losing to a DII opponent is far from a rarity, but Maryland isn’t a DI-AA rummy. The Terps are defending Atlantic Coast champs and just a week removed from upsetting Tennessee, who returns to DI-AA this season after competing in the inaugural College Premier Division (DI-A) campaign.
“It’s usually a big game for us every year to play Maryland. We’ve been playing them every year, but I think this was the highest they’ve been ranked when we played them,” said Salisbury coach Bill Creese, “and them coming off the big win against Tennessee was definitely a push for us.”
For several Sharks, so was getting another crack at Maryland flyhalf Matias Cima, former star of Gonzaga High School. “Some of my guys played against Matias in high school and never got to beat him at Gonzaga, so they’re pretty happy now, too,” Creese added.
Salisbury led 15-12 at halftime and Maryland scored first in the second half to take the lead, but it was short lived, as Salisbury put in a pair of tries and seal the victory.
Dotting down twice for the Sharks was No. 8 Jake Fields. He also scored a hat trick against Mason earlier this season, and his emergence as a playmaker has given comfort to Salisbury, which lost very little from its semifinalist squad from a year ago.
“Our biggest loss last year was our eightman, and our new eightman has stepped up,” said Creese. “I think (the guys) want to redeem themselves, especially with the little bodies that they lost.”