St. Mary’s enjoyed a number of milestones this past spring: the program’s first 12-win campaign since 2007, the school’s first Capital Athletic Conference tournament crown in six attempts and the university’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament.
Those accomplishments should be badges of pride for the players and coaches, but they also serve to raise the bar for the Seahawks in 2014, coach Chris Hasbrouck acknowledged.
“It’ll be a very different fall for us this year,” he said. “Coming off a moderately successful year, the expectations are higher and now it’s no longer me telling the guys that if you work hard and do these things, we can win the conference. Now they know what it takes. The challenge is to work harder, to make sure that we improve on last year’s record.”
The change in culture is a welcome change for Hasbrouck, who has worked to instill a sense of confidence and belief since assuming the reins of the program after the 2008 season. The team reached its lowest point in 2011, when it compiled a 6-9 overall record and a 4-4 conference mark, but St. Mary’s has had a winning record in Hasbrouck’s four other years.
This past season was a culmination of coaching decisions and player skills, and the results were inspiring for Hasbrouck.
“It’s taken five years of extremely hard work from everybody – from the coaches to the players to the incoming players,” he said. “Now it is different. The challenge is to get back and to improve on the record. Talking to my guys, they feel we can do more, and it is refreshing to know that. When a player becomes intrinsically motivated, it’s a very, very powerful force, and that’s where we are now. Our guys are becoming intrinsically motivated. That doesn’t necessarily make my job easier, but it makes us a better team.”