Mount St. Mary’s offense has enjoyed better days. After averaging 11 goals in the first nine contests, the unit is averaging just 6.5 goals in befuddling losses to UMBC and Sacred Heart in back-to-back Saturdays.
Fifth-year senior attackman Brett Schmidt has scored two goals each in the setbacks, but senior attackman Andrew Scalley has scored just once while assisting on four goals. Fifth-year senior attackman Cody Lehrer has scored a goal in each game, but has zero assists.
“I just think they’ve lost their chemistry a little bit,” coach Tom Gravante said Friday morning as the Mountaineers traveled to their next game against Quinnipiac. “When things get into a tough situation, I think they panic, and I think they had panicked in those games and kind of lost their chemistry. There was an over-exaggerated sense of urgency, and I think they were in a hurry and that had us spiral down as a team. There are certain players that lose their poise and other players that, because they feed off them, respond the same way. So this week in practice, we implemented some drills to really help these guys remember how to play as a team with chemistry. My staff and I are a bit confused as to why we only posted five goals against a conference team that had given up 11 goals a game. So I know we’re better than that. We’ve got to help the guys regain their composure and play like a team.”
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The loss to the Pioneers was especially disconcerting as Sacred Heart had been 0-8 prior to defeating Mount St. Mary’s, 14-5. The setback also put the Mountaineers (4-7) in a 0-1 hole in the Northeast Conference.
That set the stage for Saturday’s game against the Bobcats (3-5 overall and 0-1 league) taking on huge implications for Mount St. Mary’s postseason hopes.
“There are only six teams in the conference, and you only get five games,” Gravante said. “We can’t really afford to drop one if we want to put ourselves in a position to make the playoffs. I think this team can win the next four. It’s just going to have to be about playing one game at a time. But there’s no doubt about it that we’ve put our backs against the wall with this one.”
Gravante said Frankie McCarthy will make his second consecutive start in the net against the Quinnipiac. The freshman made just eight saves while surrendering 14 goals to Sacred Heart, but Gravante refused to pin the blame on McCarthy.
“Frankie, in my opinion, didn’t play bad,” Gravante said. “We just didn’t give him much support. Once Sacred Heart started scoring goals, it was their goalie who had a great game, and he played even better than what we saw on film. He gained strength from them, and we need to do the same for that young man and the offense and defense as well. If they’re making plays down there, we need to answer back for him. So we’re going to stay with Frankie. I don’t think he played poorly. I just think we need to do a better job at that end of the field.”