Goucher's 2016 campaign was marked by a noticeable discrepancy between the program's success against opponents in and out of the Landmark Conference.
The Gophers went 8-1 against non-conference foes, but only 1-5 against their league rivals.
Because a game against Gettysburg on Feb. 24 was canceled due to inclement weather, Goucher faced just three non-conference opponents with winning records in Messiah, Ferrum and Moravian. The combined winning percentage of the nine non-conference foes was .399 (59-89).
Coach Brian Kelly said he did not think it was necessary to tweak the non-conference schedule to raise the level of difficulty, which in turn could make the Gophers better.
"You can go both ways," he began. "You can play a really tough out-of-conference schedule and think that's going to help you with the conference, but does it help to be 0-9 going into conference play? Your confidence could be wrecked.
"Or do you go the other way? Play a bunch of cupcakes and you're 9-0 and you can say that gives you confidence? But you can look back and say, 'That didn't prepare us for the conference because we went 1-5.' It's one of those things where I don't think there's a right answer on that.
"We have to be better in conference games. We have to recruit better and bring in guys who can face off. We've got a couple guys coming in next year that we feel like are going to help us in the faceoff game. And we've got some guys coming in that are going to be offensive guys and can hopefully help us be better. We've got a couple defenders that are going to step in and help us on the defensive end.
"At this point, we have our schedule set for next year. We're playing a similar out-of-conference schedule. We'll have Gettysburg on the schedule. That's a tough game. So we'll see where we match up against a Top 10 opponent, and that will be a good gauge for us relative to the conference. We'll just rely on that out-of-conference schedule and hope that positions us to play well in the conference."
On the flipside, Goucher's six rivals in the Landmark accounted for a .586 winning percentage (58-41), and only Drew had a sub-.500 record. Despite the team's weak conference mark, Kelly said the players were prepared for the Landmark stretch of their schedule.
"We knew our opponents," he said. "We scouted them. We knew what their strengths and weaknesses were. We just struggled. We were very inconsistent at times. We did not make plays early in the games to give ourselves a chance to really be successful in the conference."