Washington College’s 13-6 rout of Eastern in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Wednesday unfolded despite the absence of faceoff specialist Michael Trapp, and it isn't clear whether his pulled hamstring will make the junior miss Saturday’s second-round contest against Lynchburg.
“He’s day-to-day right now,” Shoremen coach Jeff Shirk said Friday morning. “He’s getting better. We held him out of the first game, but he’s been getting treatment every day. We’re going to dress him on Saturday and see how it goes.”
Trapp – who ranks seventh in Division III with a 69.3 faceoff percentage (226-of-326) – pulled his hamstring in the first quarter of the team’s 14-6 thumping of Franklin & Marshall in the Centennial Conference tournament final on Saturday. Hamstrings are especially fickle, which could force Shirk to hold him out until perhaps the quarterfinal round on Wednesday.
Until Trapp’s return, Washington College will employ the junior duo of Raymond Circo and Will Rate. Circo has won 71.4 percent (15-of-21) of his draws and collected nine ground balls and Rate has won 33.3 percent (6-of-18) and picked up one ground ball in the team’s last two games.
“We’ll go back and forth,” Shirk said. Circo “will get the initial [reps] because he was the one that really stepped up in the second half against Eastern and won a bunch of faceoffs. Will Rate got the nod at the beginning of the game because he was the one that stepped up after Trapper went down in the F&M game and won a bunch of faceoffs. So it’s really two guys that will split some time, and whoever gets hot, we’ll go with.”
Circo and Rate will be pivotal against the Hornets’ pair of sophomore Bobby Distier (55.7 percent on 151-of-271 and 70 ground balls) and freshman Harrison Brennan (54.9 percent on 79-of-144 and 49 ground balls). Lynchburg (17-4) will take a 10-game winning streak into Saturday’s contest at Roy Kirby Jr. Stadium in Chestertown at 1 p.m.
A win would propel the Shoremen (16-1) into their first quarterfinal since 2008.
“What the guys are talking about now is, ‘Hey, we’re finally here. We’ve won one championship with the Centennial, and now we’ve got an opportunity to compete on the national level,’” he said. “This is what we talked about in February. This is what we’ve worked so hard to get to. So I think the guys are trying to enjoy it and are trying to really stay focused on the task at hand. We’re finally here. So let’s not let anything slip through our fingers. Let’s take advantage of every opportunity and let’s make sure we put our best foot forward because this is the time of the year that we’ve been working so hard to get to, and it’s been such a long journey.”