Mount St. Mary’s will try to collect its first win of the season without its top faceoff specialist.
Junior Nick Haley will miss his second consecutive game when the Mountaineers (0-7) host UMBC (3-4) on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg.
Haley, an Archbishop Spalding graduate, did not play in the team’s 9-6 loss to Drexel on Saturday after being diagnosed with a severely injured wrist that is dangerously close to being fractured, according to coach Tom Gravante.
“He won’t play against UMBC,” Gravante said on Friday afternoon. “He’s not there. We’re going to save him for Tuesday against [Northeast Conference foe] Robert Morris. He’s got some issues with his wrist, which I think many faceoff guys get. It was borderline breaking. If it breaks, he’s done for the season. The doctor said, ‘Let’s rest it for two weeks and let it heal, and then he should be good to go.’ I know that he’s strained some of the ligaments in the area, and that’s going to take some rest and rehab. We’re putting him on the bench so that we can have him ready to go for the conference.”
Haley has been the team’s most consistent option on draws, winning 44.3 percent (51-of-115) and collecting 19 ground balls. Mount St. Mary’s would rather have Haley on the field, but Gravante said giving Haley some time off to ensure his return later could be a more productive decision.
“We’d rather sacrifice now for two weeks and let it heal and let him go through rehab,” he said. “I think he took some faceoffs today in practice. We’re doing everything that’s required of us via the doctor and trainer. So I’m confident that he’ll be ready to go by Tuesday against Robert Morris.”
Junior Braedon Graham (St. Mary’s) filled in for Haley but won just 4-of-14 faceoffs and scooped up three ground balls in the loss to the Dragons. Gravante said junior Mike Celmer, who has been sidelined by a hamstring injury, will make his debut and take the first few draws against Retrievers senior Phil Poe (51.0 percent on 80-of-157 and 43 ground balls).
But Gravante said Graham could see significant time if Celmer tires or is ineffective.
“We’ll see how much Mike Celmer matches up against UMBC’s kid, and if things aren’t going as planned, then we’ll have to get Mike off the field and get Braedon on the field at the faceoff X,” Gravante said.