When Mount St. Mary’s takes the field at Delaware on Saturday, 10 days will have passed since the Mountaineers’ last game, a 10-4 loss to Georgetown on Feb. 12.
It will be the longest break of the season for the team, and coach Tom Gravante is optimistic that the players and coaches used the time off wisely.
“We’ve tried to break things down further in practice and build up,” he said Thursday. “We’re winning things on the stat sheet that we don’t want to win – like turnovers. We’re winning that stat, and we’re losing the ground ball stats.
"It gave my staff and I more time to break things down further and then build up to it. Just as one-on-ones build up to six-on-six situations, we put in a practice plan to kind of help this team grow and mature. I really like what we’ve done. I hope to see that play out on Saturday and an ability to battle better than they did at Georgetown and also turn the ball over a lot less.”
Gravante said the team has focused on trying to revive an offense that has scored just seven goals in two contests and fortifying a defense that has surrendered 26 goals.
Those efforts, however, have been hampered by Mother Nature, which dumped more than a foot of snow on campus in Emmitsburg on Feb. 13. Mount St. Mary’s was able to practice Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but could only use part of the field as grounds crews tried to move snow off the rest of the turf.
As much practice as the Mountaineers have registered, games are a different animal. Gravante just hopes that the players haven’t allowed rust to set in.
“I would like to say no because our practices are designed like games,” he said. “So they’re getting experience against each other. We’re keeping them active and working on the things that we need to work on. So I would like to say no.
"The weather hasn’t cooperated a whole lot. After that Georgetown game, we got blasted up here again, and we had to get out there and shovel so that a vehicle could manage the amount of snow that we got. It’s been a tough week for the guys after Georgetown, but I’d like to say no, that we shouldn’t be rusty. We’re playing a whole lot in practice as well.”