Here is the second 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. Wednesday’s visit was with St. Mary’s. Thursday’s visit is with Hood.
The good: A 4-13 overall record and a 2-6 Capital Athletic Conference mark was cushioned slightly by contributions from all 10 freshmen on the roster. The career-ending loss of junior goalkeeper William Lane (concussion) provided an opportunity, but coach Jeremy Mattoon said he also wanted to see what the first-year players could do. “We recruited these guys to make a difference in our program, and when Will went down, we had to change a lot of the things we did,” Mattoon said. “They were good players, and they deserved to be on the field. So we played all of them.” ... Freshman long-stick midfielder James Weger proved to be a huge find for the Blazers. He finished with three goals, one assist, 63 groundballs and 52 caused turnovers. Weger led the conference in caused turnovers (26), but was left off the All-CAC team, which did not sit well with Mattoon. “That kid deserved to be an All-CAC pick,” Mattoon insisted. “Because he was on a team that only won two [league] games and he was a freshman, he got robbed. He led the CAC in caused turnovers and because he didn’t go to Salisbury or Stevenson, he didn’t get picked. You can quote every word I said because that was crap. He deserved to be All-CAC. That kid was the best defender in our conference. He was absolutely the best defender -- and he will be.” ... Hood ranked outside of the top 90 in nine of 11 major team categories in Division III. But the Blazers ranked eighth in the nation in groundballs per game, collecting an average of 41.1. “That is something that we pride ourselves on,” Mattoon said. “We pride ourselves on being a blue-collar, hard-working team. We don’t have guys that are going to dodge down the alley and shoot 85 miles per hour. So we have to compensate by winning more groundballs and winning more faceoffs than the other team.”