Mount St. Mary’s is fully aware of the implications of Saturday road contest at Northeast Conference foe Robert Morris.
Win and the Mountaineers (3-6 overall and 0-2 in the league) can vault into the race to finish in the top four and secure a spot in the season-ending conference tournament. Lose to the Colonials (8-3, 2-0) and the Mountaineers will be at risk of missing the postseason altogether after capturing last year’s tournament championship.
The idea of Saturday’s meeting looming as a must-win situation isn’t lost on coach Tom Gravante – or his players.
“I don’t have to tell them that. They know,” he said Thursday afternoon. “They read the websites, they know where we are and how important this game is on Saturday and what it does in terms of jockeying for a playoff seed. So I don’t pressure them about getting the W. I pressure them in practice to play well, and they know my philosophy that winning takes care of itself.”
Mount St. Mary’s didn’t help its chances with last Saturday’s 17-9 loss to Bryant. But Gravante said the players are staying positive with three more conference games remaining on the schedule.
“We’re doing our best as a coaching staff to keep them in line,” he said. “We basically told them to have a short memory. You’ve got to move on. The only way the bleeding is going to stop is that we work harder in practice and we believe. We have to believe in ourselves and the guy next to us and make sure that we raise the bar and keep everybody on board. Practices have to keep being enthusiastic and full of high energy. Obviously, that starts with the coaching staff to make sure that we promote that.”