After a 17-14 loss to Robert Morris on April 14, Mount St. Mary’s dropped to 0-3 in the Northeast Conference and was in danger of becoming the league’s first tournament champion to fail to qualify the next season.
But the Mountaineers secured wins of 9-8 and 16-7 against Sacred Heart and Wagner, respectively, in back-to-back Saturdays and earned the No. 4 seed in the tourney, which begins Friday at Robert Morris.
“That was the team goal,” coach Tom Gravante said Wednesday. “That was the goal I set for them. They’ve raised the bar and want to win the whole thing, but my goal was to get to the playoffs, and we’ll settle it from there because we’ve been doing this for a long time. And I say this humbly that teams act differently when they get to the playoffs, and those teams that play well under pressure, win. So anything can happen. I think we’re a very dangerous team in this tournament because we’re still a little bit of an unknown by our opponents. We’re still maybe a little bit of a mystery to some of these teams. But very pleased with our guys and very proud of them to battle back. They knew their fate was in their hands, and it was up to them to determine if they were going to extend their season or sit and watch. After we got to 0-3, they knew it was time to raise the bar and turn up the pressure and handle that pressure. That win against Sacred Heart was very important.”