DOVER, Del. – A 3-1 victory over Wesley College Wednesday night solidified the No. 10 Salisbury University men's soccer team as the regular-season champion of the Capital Athletic Conference, giving the Sea Gulls a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the conference tournament.
The Wolverines (8-8-1, 3-6 CAC) started off the offensive charge in the opening seven minutes, taking two shots on target, but both were turned away by junior goalkeeper Drew Staedeli, who finished the game with a career-high seven saves.
Salisbury (12-1-5, 6-1-2 CAC) would be the first to strike though, finding the back of the net in the 20th minute. Senior forward Tanner East played a ball to senior forward Benjamin Aryeetey, who got behind the defense and ripped a shot past Wesley goalkeeper Ryan Sanders.
Just 12 minutes later, the Gulls cashed in on goal number two. Carrying the ball down the middle, sophomore Nicholas McCrea played a ball to the left where it met the foot of freshman Brooks Zentgraf. Blasting a low shot, Zentgraf was able to keep it low enough past a diving Sanders for the 2-0 lead at the break.
Salisbury and Wesley went into halftime taking five shots apiece, while the Gulls held a 4-0 edge in corner kicks.
Wesley opened up the second half taking three shots, two that cracked off the crossbar, but it was SU that extended the lead in the 54th minute. Receiving a ball from sophomore Justin Lee, East put on the final touch scoring his team-high seventh goal of the season.
The Wolverines would find the back of the net in the 80th minute, but the Gulls would hold on for the 3-1 finish, getting SU back in the win column.
Staedeli recorded his 12th victory of the season in net, pulling in seven saves through 90 minutes of play.
With the victory, Salisbury receives a first-round bye and home-field advantage as the top seed in the CAC tournament. The first round is set to begin on Saturday, November 1, with No. 4 University of Mary Washington and No. 5 Christopher Newport University facing off to determine who will advance to the semifinal match against the Sea Gulls on Wednesday, November 5, at the SU Soccer Complex. Check www.suseagulls.com for start time and other postseason information as it becomes available.