For the second straight year, Frostburg State finished fourth in the Capital Athletic Conference, earning for the program the right to play host to a league tournament quarterfinal.
Last spring, the fourth-seeded Bobcats fell, 11-6, to No. 5 seed Mary Washington. Coach Tommy Pearce is hoping for a vastly different result when St. Mary's visits on Wednesday.
"It's a great achievement," Pearce said of hosting a conference tournament game. "We did have that happen last year, and last year, we beat Mary Washington and then they came back up that following Wednesday and beat us. So we know it's really hard to beat a team twice and St. Mary's is a good team. That game was a lot closer than the score indicated. We kind of got some late, but it was a very close game throughout, and we've got to try to not let what happened to us last year happen again this year. So it's a great achievement for us, and last year, we were happy with that achievement, and then it turned right around and didn't go in our favor. So we're trying to take it one step further this year."
Frostburg State (12-4 overall and 4-3 in the CAC) walloped Seahawks, who won last year's league tournament, on Saturday, but Pearce said the 17-10 score was inflated due to a 7-4 fourth quarter by the Bobcats.
"I don't think that was as convincing a win as the score indicates," he said. "We scored a few late, but it was a close game into the fourth quarter. So I don't think it's an advantage necessarily. We both have that film, we both have a lot of opportunity to kind of see what we did right and what we did wrong, and we both kind of have two days to kind of try to make some adjustments and play the game again here. I think our big advantage is, we don't have the bus ride on Wednesday."
With a win on Wednesday, Frostburg State would advance to its first tournament semifinal against Salisbury (16-1, 6-1), which moved to No. 2 in the latest United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association poll after Saturday's 11-9 upset of then-No. 2 and reigning national champion Stevenson.
But Pearce said avoiding a repeat of last year's loss to Mary Washington in the tournament quarterfinal has been a motivation for the Bobcats.
"Last year, we were really excited to get the [No.] 4 seed and host and even though we had home-field advantage, it didn't go in our advantage," he said. "We keep talking about taking our program to the next level and I think that would be a pretty clearly defined next step. We got to do what we did last year, and the difference between this year and last year would be winning this game on Wednesday."