The inexperience that coach Tom Gravante anticipated seeing from a Mount St. Mary’s team that graduated 22 seniors last May came to fruition in Saturday’s scrimmage against Richmond.
The Mountaineers committed 23 turnovers in four 15-minute quarters and fared poorly overall against the Spiders, who are making their college lacrosse debut this season. But Gravante said the mistakes were not shocking.
“My staff anticipated not performing to our ability for a couple reasons,” he said Tuesday evening. “One, we’re a brand-new team, and we’re a little bit young. We have one returning starter with legitimate minutes offensively. There’s a lot of new faces. Even if they’re upperclassmen, they haven’t played or started a game. So it’s brand new to kids.
"That, coupled with how bad the weather has been in this great state with the frigid temperatures, unfortunately, we lacked full-field experience, and we anticipated that as a staff and it happened as predicted.”
Weather has been a severe issue for Mount St. Mary’s. Last week, the team was able to practice on Monday, but was snowed out on Tuesday and Wednesday. Coaches and players were forced to wait an hour on Thursday for the thermometer to rise to 10 degrees before they could practice.
Another storm dumped six inches of snow on the university’s campus in Emmitsburg on Monday.
“I am worried, and I’m worried because I don’t want to lose that full-field time leading up to this team,” Gravante said, referring to Saturday’s season opener against Maryland. “But it’s going to be out of my control. My staff and I are very confident getting them further up the hill. This is going to be a great test for us, and I’m very confident in my staff, but there’s only so much we can do if the weather doesn’t cooperate.”
Whatever the outcome on Saturday, Gravante said the Mountaineers will feature a more youthful look that will get plenty of opportunities to mature and grow.
“This year, we’re going to play freshmen. We have to,” he said. “Last year, we were more mature with 22 seniors, so it was hard to get a young man into the game. This year, it’s going to be different. There are going to be a lot of new faces on that field, and it’s great. That will build depth as we go. That’s what we had last year because a lot of those kids had been playing since their freshman years.”