Wirh less than three weeks remaining before the start of the 2011 NCAA Division III Lacrosse Championship tournament, there’s more uncertainty than ever about who is the top team in the field.

For the second time in as many weeks, there’s a new team atop the USILA Division III Coaches’ Poll, as the Salisbury Sea Gulls are at No. 1 for the first time this season following a 16-14 win over previous No. 1 Stevenson. Of course, while the Sea Gulls are likely thrilled to be the top team in the poll once again, the real prize for Salisbury was the 16th Capital Athletic Conference championship in program history.

After being steamrolled in the first quarter a week earlier en route to a 16-12 loss to the Mustangs, the Sea Gulls came out ready to battle, trading goals with their foes for the first 10 minutes. Stevenson was able to get some separation toward the end of the quarter, scoring five unanswered goals to lead 8-3 after 15 minutes, but Salisbury regrouped in the second quarter, outscoring the Mustangs, 5-4. Still, trailing 12-8 at halftime, the Sea Gulls needed something big to avoid a second straight loss to their CAC rival, and they came up with it in the third quarter.

Junior attackmen Matt Cannone and Tony Mendes combined for five goals, and Cannone assisted on scores by classmate Sam Bradman and sophomore midfielder Ryan Clarke, as the Salisbury offense exploded for seven goals in the third quarter. Meanwhile, after stepping in for classmate Johnny Rodriguez following the 11th Stevenson goal, senior goalkeeper Tim Swinburn stopped all three shots he saw in the third quarter.

Swinburn saved his best work for the fourth quarter, however, stopping seven Stevenson shots in the final 15 minutes. The Mustangs were able to hold the Sea Gulls to a single shot in the final frame, but with Swinburn protecting the cage, it didn’t matter, as Salisbury held Stevenson off for the two-goal victory.

With the win, Salisbury avenged its lone loss of the season and improved to 16-1 on the year, but was not a unanimous No. 1 in the poll. Salisbury received six of 14 first-place votes, with six more going to unbeaten RIT and two going to former No. 1 Tufts.

The process of determining the real No. 1 starts May 11.

Need to Know

•  Another No. 1 team fell over the weekend, as Limestone, the top ranked team in the USILA Division II Poll, dropped a 12-8 decision to No. 4 Mercyhurst at a neutral site in Alexandria, Va. Senior goalkeeper Zach Nash made 12 saves – seven on top scorers Riley Loewen and Shayne Jackson – to hold the Saints to a season-low eight goals, and was named the East Coast Conference’s Goalkeeper of the Week, while senior midfielders Andy Winslow and Kevin Coholan led the Lakers offense with three goals apiece. Limestone still got one first-place vote in this week’s poll, but the loss cleared the way for LeMoyne to claim the top spot, followed by C.W. Post, the Lakers and the Saints.

• The ACC has been hard to predict all season long, but when all was said and done, Maryland wound up back on top. The Terrapins beat Duke on Sunday, 11-9, to win their first conference championship since 2005. Senior attackman Grant Catalino, who scored the game-winner in the semifinal win over North Carolina, scored three goals in the title game, earning tournament MVP honors for the Terrapins, while classmate Ryan Young scored the eventual game-winning goal against Blue Devils less than three minutes into the fourth quarter. Young’s goal made it 10-8 Terrapins, and while Duke’s David Lawson scored just over two minutes later, Catalino’s third goal of the game with 6:33 remaining gave the Terps some much-needed insurance. With the wins, Maryland moved up from No. 7 to No. 5 in the USILA Division I Poll, and will take a two-week break before facing Colgate on May 7 in the Terrapins’ last game before the NCAA Tournament.

• Less than a week after edging No. 15 Denison for its toughest win of the season, No. 12 Wittenburg left no doubt against NCAC rival Wooster. The Scots played the mighty Tigers tough in the early going, scoring the game’s first goal and trailing 4-3, but Wittenburg scored the game’s last seven goals to finish with an 11-3 victory. Senior Matt Lord scored two goals and assisted two more in that run, bringing him within one goal of the program record. He’ll have a shot at the record on Wednesday, in a pivotal game with Ohio Wesleyan. If the Tigers can beat the Battling Bishops, they’ll win the NCAC outright. If OWU can win, they’ll share the title with Wittenburg and Denison.

 Quick Hits

•  Harvard senior attackman Dean Gibbons was named the Ivy League Player of the Week after leading the Crimson to a 9-8 win over Princeton. Gibbons scored three goals and assisted on three more to help Harvard climb out of a 3-0 hole and keep control of its destiny in the hunt for a spot in the Ivy League tournament.

•  Amherst junior goalkeeper Sam Jakimo and Trinity sophomore attacker Rob Nogueras shared Player of the Week honors in the NESCAC. Jakimo made 18 saves to backstop the Lord Jeffs to a 4-2 win over Wesleyan – their first victory over the Cardinals since 1999 – while Nogueras scored seven goals (including a double-overtime game-winner) and assisted on two more in an 18-12 win over Babson and a 6-5 double-OT win over Bates.

•  Le Moyne senior attacker Jack Venditti was named the Northeast-10 Player of the Week after leading the Dolphins to two wins and the No. 1 ranking. Venditti scored two goals in a 9-8 win over a No. 5 Adelphi team that hadn’t lost in conference all season, then scored four more goals and assisted on a fifth in a 15-6 win over Bentley.

•  Union junior goalkeeper Sean Aaron was named the Liberty League Defensive Performer of the Week. Aaron backstopped the Dutchmen to wins over SUNY Cobleskill and Liberty League foe Clarkson, stopping 18 of 22 shots on the week.