For the fourth year in a row, Goucher will enter the Landmark Conference Tournament as the top seed. Saturday’s 13-8 victory over Scranton ensured the Gophers (14-1 overall and 5-0 in the league) of that distinction.
But it’s an achievement that coach Kyle Hannan avoided trying to place too much of an emphasis on after the win against the Royals.
“I’m glad we beat Scranton,” he said. “We still have another Landmark game. That tournament starts quite a ways down the road, a week-and-a-half away. So I’m proud of the guys for getting it, but we’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about the Merchant Marine and finishing the season and playing in the second season.”
Hannan did concede that getting the top seed for the fourth consecutive spring is an accomplishment.
“We just don’t talk about it a lot,” he said. “There’s no doubt that every player knows. That’s what we set out to do. We wanted to be the No. 1 seed, we wanted to go undefeated in the Landmark. We have a challenge. We have to go out on the road and play Merchant Marine, and they’re going to be ready to play us, and I think we’re going to be ready to play them, too.”
Being the top seed hasn’t necessarily translated into success for Goucher. The team was the top seed in 2009, but fell to Scranton in the semifinal round. In 2010, the Gophers won the title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, but was stunned again by the Royals last year in the final.
That history was not lost on senior midfielder Matt Lynch.
“It’s nice going into the conference tournament No. 1, but we’ve also only won one conference tournament out of three,” he said. “So hopefully, we can get that second one.”