Mount St. Mary’s coach Tom Gravante is quick to point out that the team’s 1-4 skid in its last five contests can be traced – in part – to an inability to control faceoffs (48.7 percent on 58-of-119 wins) and collect groundballs (105 to opponents’ 127).
Gravante also conceded that sophomore goalkeeper Chris Klaiber is enduring his share of struggles in the cage.
Over that same span, Klaiber has allowed 55 goals and posted a .466 save percentage. Klaiber, who had the enviable task of succeeding four-year starter T.C. DiBartolo, has been particularly vulnerable against shooters who take aim at the upper portion of the net.
“He’s really struggling with the high-to-high shots,” Gravante said Thursday before referring to last Saturday’s 17-9 thumping at the hands of Northeast Conference rival Bryant. “The game was moved to grass the day before the game, and I was concerned about that as I thought that Bryant would throw a lot of bounce shots at him. But they didn’t. They had a pretty good scouting [report] on him, and they knew he struggled with high-to-high shots, and they let it rip and they scored their share of goals.”
In an effort to assist Klaiber, Gravante, DiBartolo – a volunteer assistant – and other Mountaineers coaches have asked the goalie to stay behind, review his technique, and develop an eye for high shots.
“We’re doing some training outside of practice, just increasing the shot volume that he’ll see in a game to give him more experience,” Gravante said. “Sometimes the training with goalies prior to practice isn’t enough. So we have to implement more time with them, especially to work on their form and their angles, making sure that they’re moving their feet correctly. So we’re spending more time with that.”