Mount St. Mary's to host Northeast Conference tournament
Mount St. Mary’s season-long mission to capture the top seed and home-field advantage throughout the Northeast Conference tournament was accomplished last Saturday – and a measure of thanks goes to Bryant.
The Mountaineers’ 22-5 rout of Wagner coupled with the Bulldogs’ 16-15 loss to Robert Morris helped Mount St. Mary’s (7-5 overall and 4-0 in the NEC) clinch the top seed and home-field advantage in the conference tournament. Sports information director Mark Vandergrift informed the players and coach Tom Gravante of the development moments after the victory over Wagner.
“We thank them for that,” Gravante said Tuesday. “… That’s the first time in my career that something like that has ever happened. Usually, in the MAAC [Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference], it always went down to the final game. … It was wonderful to hear, and I just hope we keep their heads grounded as well as their feet because we still have a job to do.”
The Mountaineers will be able to express their gratitude to Bryant personally when the Bulldogs visit Waldron Family Stadium in Emmittsburg this Saturday. Bryant (7-8, 2-2) can cement a spot in the four-team NEC tournament with a win against Mount St. Mary’s or a loss by Sacred Heart (4-8, 1-3) to Robert Morris (8-5, 2-2) on Saturday.
The Bulldogs can finish no higher than the No. 3 seed. If they are the No. 4 seed, they would meet the Mountaineers again in the tournament semifinal round next Friday.
“We may have to play Bryant back-to-back,” Gravante noted. “So I think this is a real key game to put the monkey on their backs.”
Gravante said he intends to keep the heat on the players to prevent them from easing up on the Bulldogs.
“I want to make them angry,” he said. “I want them to be angry on Senior Day and to also play with poise and swagger, but to really focus on beating this team down because we want to put their backs against the wall and make sure they know who’s in charge here.”