Losses are never easy to absorb. The effect can be lasting, but quick turnarounds have a tendency of shifting the focus.
So Mount St. Mary’s will put Tuesday night’s 9-8 setback to Georgetown in the rearview mirror, but that doesn’t mean that the impact of that loss won’t rear its ugly head again in the future.
If the Mountaineers had protected fourth-quarter leads instead of suffering setbacks to Towson and the Hoyas, Mount St. Mary’s might be looking at a 4-1 record with resume-building wins against No. 20 Delaware, Georgetown and Towson.
Instead, the team is 2-3 and needs to defeat Drexel on Saturday and No. 11 Maryland on April 25 and repeat as Northeast Conference champion for a shot at an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The impact of Tuesday night’s loss to the Hoyas, who rallied from an 8-5 deficit, was not lost on coach Tom Gravante.
“If we win these two games – coupled with Delaware – we’re right there,” he said. “We just weren’t composed enough to play.”
Because the NEC won’t have an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament until next season, the Mountaineers’ only hope of reaching the postseason is getting an at-large bid. It’s a dilemma that has weighed on the minds of several players.
“That would have been great to be in the top 20 and get in the tournament,” sophomore defenseman Shane Pierce said. “But we lost. It happens, and we’ve got to move on from here.”
*Georgetown’s comeback was made possible by the play of sophomore Chris May, who won all five faceoffs in the fourth quarter. Those wins led to long, extended possessions for the Hoyas, who took 18 shots to Mount St. Mary’s zero in the period. But Pierce dismissed the notion that the defense was fatigued. “Without getting possessions, it was pretty tough to play consistently,” he said. “It seems that we were getting tired, but I don’t think we were too exhausted. They just kept getting the ball over and over again. We could get any clears and get it over to the offense.”
*Georgetown’s Zack Angel has scored three goals in each of his last three contests, and the senior midfielder credits his production to a simple recognition of his limited time with the Hoyas. “I just know that the end is near,” he said. “So I’m playing as hard as I can and as long as I can every game. Just good things are coming from it.” Coach Dave Urick said Angel has an ailment in forearm that prevents him from playing too much. He’s already held out of practices, and Urick said he probably won’t play against Providence on Saturday. “He’s a gamer,” Urick said. “He hasn’t practiced much. He’s got some issues health-wise that make more sense to keep him out of practice. Maybe he’s fresher than the other guys.”
*Georgetown is now 3-1 and seemingly light years removed from the season-opening 16-11 loss to No. 11 Maryland. But Urick joked that the team wouldn’t win any style points with the NCAA Tournament selection committee after Tuesday night’s outcome. “We’ll take it,” he said. “It’s a one-goal win. We’re not going to put any quality points behind it. It’s not for a time capsule, but we’ll take it. We’ve just got to learn from it and get better.”