Here is the opening installment of a series that checks in with the eight Division III programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Teams are scheduled to appear according to the chronological order in which their seasons ended. So Wednesday begins with a visit with St. Mary’s.
The good: After limping to a 6-9 overall record and a 4-4 Capital Athletic Conference mark in 2011, the Seahawks bounced back in fine fashion, going 10-6 and 6-2, respectively. The rebound was what coach Chris Hasbrouck and the players had in mind before the start of the year. “I think overall from a program standpoint, I think we did take a step forward where I and the players feel we should be,” he said. “I think we were a much more competitive team, and I believe we really laid some good groundwork to continue to build on for next year and the following years.” ... Considering the team’s four-game improvement in the win column, it’s not shocking that St. Mary’s rose in all 11 major statistical categories. Among the most important departments, the offense jumped from 8.4 goals per game in 2011 to 10.1 in 2012, the defense’s generosity dipped from 10.7 to 9.3, and the average number of groundballs jumped from 28.8 to 32.7. “I’m impatient, but I’m not surprised that our stats improved,” Hasbrouck said. “If we’re all doing what we need to do, we should all see improvement again next year. That’s the sign that the team is making strides and taking good steps.” ... A faceoff unit that won just 45.9 percent in 2011 improved to 51.5 percent this past spring. Junior faceoff specialist Albert Mitchell (78 groundballs and 159-of-290 for 54.8 percent) played a pivotal role, but wing play from long-stick midfielders Peter Windsor and Dalton Yohn and midfielders Gordy Long and Nate Babcock also made a difference. “We certainly want to be over 50 percent, and anything over 60 percent would be a bonus for us,” Hasbrouck said. “It was huge. If you have the ball, it’s a good thing.”