Eight months from NCAA tournament loss haven't dulled pain for St. Mary's

It has been more than eight months since St. Mary’s 2013 campaign ended in the first round of the NCAA tournament via a 6-5 loss to Lynchburg on May 8. To coach Chris Hasbrouck and the players, however, the memory isn’t that distant.

“I don’t think since that moment there hasn’t been one day that they’ve thought about it,” he said. “Last year, the schedule was so competitive that we had nine games decided by one or two goals. Every game was just a close, tight one. We were fortunate that we were 6-3 in those games, but it would have been nice to have been 7-2 and moving on. But we’ll learn from that. Every game, you’ve got to be able to pull those games out, especially with an opportunity to go up 6-3 with a minute gone in the fourth quarter. We failed to capitalize on that, and we’ll learn from that.”

The key to success for any program is to extend success earned in one season to ensuing years. To that end, Hasbrouck said the Seahawks can’t afford to be content with a Capital Athletic Conference tournament crown and the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance in 2013.

“We certainly are using what happened at the end of the year as motivation,” he said. “It’s tough to say that we were disappointed in making the tournament, and Lynchburg was a very, very good team – if not a great team. It was a positive step forward, but none of us were happy getting there and not winning that game. We’ll use that to our benefit, to learn from that. I think it was a thing throughout the year. We lost a couple of very close games because we failed to play for 60 minutes and finish. I think if we can learn from that and be a little more consistent, I think we’ll hopefully improve on the record and where we go. So we’re using that for motivation. It’s hard to say you’re disappointed about winning the conference and going to the tournament, and I don’t think we were. We were just disappointed in the way the season ended.”

But will the players be able to bury the memory of that loss to Lynchburg? Hasbrouck seems to think it will happen sooner rather than later.

“That was the last game of the year, and I know that they’ve been extremely motivated, but I think once we get on the bus to Roanoke and get ready to open up the season, it will be done,” he said. “It’s a new year, and I’ve told them that you can’t let it have a negative impact. That will probably – if anything – have a positive impact in that it’s made us hungry. So we’re ready to start the season.”

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