Prior to getting a lower seed than Washington College – an opponent that Goucher had defeated, 8-6, on Feb. 25 – in the NCAA tournament for not fielding a terribly impressive strength of schedule, coach Kyle Hannan had already been working on beefing up the team’s schedule for 2013.
Next year’s lineup of non-conference opponents will include several new additions in Stevenson, St. Mary’s and McDaniel. Those three teams will be added to a group that already includes the Shoremen, Gettysburg, Mary Washington and Randolph Macon.
Hannan, who said that he is also trying to arrange a regular-season meeting with Ohio Wesleyan, said the necessity of improving the Gophers’ schedule was impressed upon him after serving as a member of the NCAA regional advisory committee, which recommends seedings for the NCAA tournament.
“We’ve made major changes this year – the largest amount of turnover in our non-conference schedule that we’ve ever had since I’ve been at Goucher,” said Hannan, who has been heading the program since November 2000. “We’re adding a lot of top 20 teams. So our strength of schedule is going to increase tremendously. And that’s good. We want to play top-10, top-20 teams, and that’s how we’re going to continue to grow and be in a position to win NCAA tournament games and advance in the tournament.”
Adding opponents like Stevenson, St. Mary’s and McDaniel, however, could come at the expense of wins. But Hannan said he is eager to see how his team – which completed an 18-2 campaign this past spring – stacks up against some of the tougher competition in Division III.
“Next year, we’ll have the opportunity to do that,” he said. “We’re excited about the challenge. We probably won’t win 18 games – I certainly hope we do – but that’s OK because our program’s growing with the schedule that we’re going to be playing.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun