Lack of postseason doesn't bother Mount St. Mary's
Mount St. Mary’s 14-9 victory over Quinnipiac to capture the Northeast Conference tournament on Sunday may not mean much in the grand scheme of things because the automatic qualifier to the NCAA tournament doesn’t kick in for the league until 2013.
But that didn’t detract from the Mountaineers claiming the inaugural tournament championship, according to coach Tom Gravante.
“I think it was great,” he said Monday. “I think it was great for both the program and Mount St. Mary’s. Very proud of my kids to be able to win back-to-back conference titles in two different conferences. [The Mountaineers won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament crown last year.] But winning the first one is pretty special, and it also makes a statement that Mount St. Mary’s lacrosse is playing well. I think the president has gotten behind us and pushed us to that primary level. There’s still more that can be done, but we’re another good team in the state of Maryland. Winning the first championship, it’s wonderful, and I’m very proud of my players.”
Participating in the NCAA tournament is the goal of many programs, and that’s true for Mount St. Mary’s. But Gravante said there was no wistfulness on his part that the Northeast Conference AQ had begun this season.
“In my thought process, I already knew,” he said. “So I wasn’t looking for anything more from these kids but to win a conference championship and really set the tempo. I told the kids at the game that winning is fun, and it feels great. But guess what? It comes with a price, and there’s also a price on your heads next year. Everybody’s going to want a piece of us. So let’s make sure we don’t go home this summer and sit back on our heels. It’s going to get even harder next year. Not having the AQ, the kids knew about it, but I don’t think it took away from their ability to stay focused and hungry. Their goal – and our senior captains made sure they understood it – was to win a conference title, and they did.”