Strictly by the rankings in the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association preseason poll, No. 18 St. Mary’s 12-8 victory over No. 8 Roanoke on Tuesday would seem to qualify as an upset. It’s a label that Seahawks coach Chris Hasbrouck would prefer to avoid.
“I think we’re to the point where we’re wondering when is it going to stop being considered an upset,” he said Wednesday morning. “I think that’s the thing. We feel very good about the work we’re putting in and the players we’re bringing in and the competition. I guess that’s for other people to judge. But we’ve been working hard, and it’s another step. That game is done now. I think last year, we kind of surprised some people. So it’s nice to come back and win a big game at a tough place to play against a very, very good opponent.”
Hasbrouck seems to make a solid case. After all, in 2013, St. Mary’s defeated 10-time national champion Salisbury for the Capital Athletic Conference tournament crown to qualify for the school’s first NCAA tournament and was less than 10 minutes away from bouncing Lynchburg from the first round.
So the Seahawks are no wallflower, but if observers need a reminder of what the team is capable of, Hasbrouck seemed please that the players provided one.
“You want to start the season off right,” he said. “It’s a good win. We’re playing a traditional top 10 opponent at their place. We felt very prepared going down. It means we’re 1-0 and getting ready for another big game [vs. No. 7 Dickinson on Saturday].”
St. Mary’s got contributions on offense and defense. Senior midfielder Gordy Long and junior midfielder Matt Tarrant each scored three goals to spark a unit that put 28 of 36 shots on net. And senior goalkeeper Zack Blewett made nine saves to anchor a defense that helped force the Maroons commit a game-high 21 turnovers.
Asked to decide which unit had the better debut, Hasbrouck couldn’t say.
“I don’t want to say that I’m not impressed with either one,” he said. “I think they are meeting our expectations. We made mistakes on both ends. Fortunately, Roanoke didn’t capitalize on some of those things, and we made a couple big plays when we had to. We’ve got a veteran group at both ends, and I think we showed good patience and overall good shot selection, which I was very happy with. Defensively, we didn’t communicate as well as we could have, and we need to continue to work on that. But we like our matchups and we have a number of guys that gives us some options.”