The return of a first midfield that combined for 70 goals and 19 assists in 2013 was expected to be the foundation for a St. Mary’s team that graduated All-Everything attackman Patrick Mull, and the unit has not disappointed.
Junior Matt Tarrant (eight goals and one assist in 2014), junior Will Lerch (6, 2) and senior Gordy Long (6, 1) rank 1-2-3 in points, and have helped the No. 14 Seahawks improve to 2-1, which includes a season-opening 12-8 win against then-No. 8 Roanoke.
“They’re a handful, and it’s great because they’re all very different styles,” coach Chris Hasbrouck said Monday morning of the starting midfield. “To have all three of them playing so well at this point, I think it gives us a great advantage. It gives us great matchups. I’m sure teams are going to start to scheme and plan on what to do with them. You know that if you shut one guy down, someone else has to step up, and that’s really how it’s been for us. … They’ve played together for two, three years so far, and it’s been awesome to see them develop.”
Hasbrouck said the chemistry the trio has developed has manifested itself on the field where the players can rely on non-verbal communication to direct the offense.
“I just think they’re all on the same page,” he said. “They all have their own strengths, and depending on who’s getting poled and what set we’re running, they’ve got a great synergy, and they’ve worked so well together. Every practice, they’ve been doing the same thing together for three years. So they have really clicked. It’s the kind of thing where they just give each other a look. They don’t even really have to call out the sets. Wherever they have the ball on the field, they kind of know what to run. So they have given us a huge advantage. They haven’t all played their best game together, so that will be nice to see when that happens.”
Tarrant recorded five goals and one assist, Lerch two goals and one assist, and Long (St. Paul's) one goal and one assist in St. Mary’s 21-5 demolition of Drew on Saturday. The win was important for a team that had to absorb a 13-8 loss to No. 6 Dickinson on Feb. 22 and is preparing for Wednesday’s non-conference clash with No. 8 Washington College (2-0).
“It’s huge,” Hasbrouck said. “You want to continue to improve and get some confidence back. We certainly built on the second half against Dickinson. … You want to go in on a high note and play another great opponent. So it was very, very big to go up there and not only win, but play well and execute.”