The return of Clayton Wainer gave Mount St. Mary’s a shot in the arm, but was it temporary?
After being shelved for three games with a concussion suffered before a 15-5 loss to Delaware on Feb. 22, the junior midfielder made his customary start Sunday and scored one goal on eight shots in the team’s 8-7 loss to Manhattan.
“He looked strong,” coach Tom Gravante said of Wainer on Thursday. “He was aggressive. But as the game wore on, so did his body. His body got worn down a bit. We pretty much kept him out of practice throughout the week. He was able to do a little bit more building up to Sunday and was looking great. The unfortunate thing is that near the end of the game on Sunday, he had developed some ankle problem and he hasn’t practiced since. So I’m not really sure of his status for Saturday [against Drexel]. We’ve been plagued with these injuries. I don’t know how it is for the other teams, but this weather has certainly beaten our team down.”
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If Wainer is unavailable for Saturday’s 1 p.m. game against the Dragons (3-3) at Waldron Family Stadium in Emmitsburg, Gravante said the first midfield could consist of fifth-year seniors Mike Fields (Wilde Lake) and Greg Mulvaney and senior Kyle McDonough.
McDonough is one of the team’s two starting short-stick defensive midfielders, but injuries have forced the offense to tap the defensive lineup for reserves.
“I’m taking from Peter to give to Paul,” Gravante quipped. “We had to work [McDonough] back into the offensive side of the field because we’re limited. He had a pretty decent game against Manhattan in terms of some of the things that he did. So we’re working him back into the offensive end. Him, Mike Fields and a kid named Mike Pascali are going to have to be two-way middies for us.”
One player who would seem able to play on the first line is sophomore Robert Jones, who has made three starts and is tied for the team lead in goals (three) and assists (two). But Jones was relegated to the second midfield Sunday, and Gravante said there is no plan to promote him.
“He’s still struggling a little bit in terms of getting to the cage,” Gravante said. “He had a good practice leading up to today. He’s going to play. We just need him to break through whatever mental barrier might be going up during games and move onto a higher level.”