Goucher, which wrapped up the top seed and home-field advantage in the upcoming Landmark Conference tournament, will conclude the regular season with Saturday’s home contest against the Merchant Marine. The Mariners will visit Gopher Stadium again on Wednesday as Goucher’s semifinal opponent in the conference tournament.
Gophers coach Brian Kelly compared Saturday’s game to a “dress rehearsal” for the tournament.
“It’s obviously a dress rehearsal for a game that will have a lot of significance for Wednesday,” he said Tuesday. “Saturday may not necessarily have any bearing on any real results other than the record, but it is a good dress rehearsal and a great chance to see their athletes match-up against our athletes.”
Like many teams at this stage of the season, Goucher has several athletes dealing with the usual bumps and bruises, and with nothing on the line this Saturday, the team could rest players in anticipation of Wednesday’s tournament contest. But Kelly said he intends to play every player available for Saturday.
“It’s a big day here at Goucher. It’s our reunion weekend, it’s Senior Day. We want to go out and win that game,” he said. “We want to continue to play and really prepare for Wednesday, and Saturday gives us that opportunity to prepare and get a live look at our first-round opponent in the playoffs. I don’t think we’ll rest guys. But we have some seniors that are going to go out there and certainly, they want to get another win at home to close out an undefeated regular season in the Landmark.”
Kelly said there is a part of him that wants to treat Saturday’s contest as a preseason match, simply sending players out there in vanilla schemes on offense and defense. But Kelly pointed out that he will not be pulling any surprises on Merchant Marine coach Tom Gill, who is in his 23rd season with the Mariners.
“This will be our 15th game, and their head coach has been around for a long, long time, and he knows the game really well,” Kelly said. “We’ve played them a number of times, and we haven’t changed much offensively. So they know what we do, and we have a pretty good idea of what they like to do. So it’s not something where we’re going to change what we do in order so that they don’t get an opportunity to see it.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun