When top-seeded Goucher opens the Landmark Conference tournament Wednesday by welcoming fourth-seeded Catholic to Gopher Stadium in Towson, the Gophers will have more than just homefield advantage on their side.
Goucher (15-1 overall and 6-0 in the league) has won all 17 meetings in its series with the Cardinals (9-5, 3-3), including a 14-10 victory on April 14.
Gophers coach Kyle Hannan said he’s fully expecting a motivated Catholic squad inspired to snap the series skid.
“I’m sure they’re going to use just the rivalry alone,” he said Tuesday. “They were in the Capital Athletic Conference with us before we switched over to the Landmark. So we were in the Capital together and there was a rivalry then. I’m quite sure they know the record, so I’m sure they’re excited to have the opportunity to beat Goucher. And when you put being in the Final Four for the Landmark on top of that, they’re playing for a lot. They’re going to be very motivated.”
Goucher beat the Cardinals less than three weeks ago despite an eye-opening performance from junior goalkeeper Patrick Pfaff, who made 18 saves in the loss. Hannan praised Pfaff and said he hopes that the Gophers offense will be better prepared for the first-year starter.
“So that was our first true look at him,” Hannan said. “He’s a talented kid, and our guys had never played against him. Now there’s a little bit more of an awareness. Our guys have played against him, we’ve seen how he plays, and we’ve seen his tendencies a little bit more. I feel like we’re more prepared for Wednesday.”