When Goucher and Scranton play on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Gopher Stadium in Towson, the winner will capture the Landmark Conference regular-season title and earn the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the league tournament.
The Gophers (6-6) and Royals (9-6) are 4-1 in the conference, but only one will sit atop the league. Coach Brian Kelly said it's nice to know that neither team has to worry about tiebreakers or potential seeds.
"We've got a lot to play for," he said Thursday. "If we go out and execute the game plan and play good lacrosse, we'll be in position to play at home one more time. This is the seniors' last guaranteed home game. So there's a lot. We want go put forth a great effort, and if we do that, we get the No. 1 seed and our seniors get at least another game at home. … There's a lot that's on the line."
Scranton's stunning 8-7 loss to Susquehanna on April 17 opened the door for Goucher, which did its fair share of work by walloping Catholic, 14-5, on the same day. That contest was an arduous task for the Gophers, who were still grieving the death of sophomore midfielder Matthew Gabriel three days earlier.
"Certainly it was an emotional game because obviously it was such a tragic event," Kelly said. "But it was a great day in the sense that our guys really showed some strength and character and determination to fight through all of that. So we're certainly excited about what that win meant for us because it put us in the position to play for the No. 1 seed."
Goucher is aiming for its sixth consecutive Landmark Conference regular-season crown, but it's not a topic of conversation among the players, according to Kelly.
"I don't even think they have any idea," he said. "They're in a situation where they're student-athletes and they've got a ton of schoolwork. So they've already got enough on their minds. I think that's probably the last thing they're thinking about. They're focused on Scranton and hopefully putting forth a good effort that will keep us at home for at least one more game."