Here is the sixth 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. Tuesday’s visit was with Washington. Wednesday’s visit is with Goucher.
The good: After getting stunned by Scranton in the Landmark Conference tournament final in 2011, the Gophers made amends by running the table to earn the top seed in the league tournament and outlast Drew for the championship. Capturing the second title in three years was an objective the team did not shy away from. “It wasn’t unspoken. It was loud and clear from the start that our No. 1 goal was to win the Landmark championship,” coach Kyle Hannan said. “That’s what our sights were on from the time we first came back in the fall. We wanted to make sure that we were doing everything we could to not only be in that game, but to win it. So I think there was a lot of motivation after being the No. 1 seed last year and losing in that championship game on our home field. As much as that stung, I think it was a pretty big learning experience for a lot of our guys, that you have to finish the season off, and we were able to do that this year.” … En route to an 18-2 campaign, Goucher rattled off 15 consecutive wins between an 8-5 loss to Gettysburg on Feb. 29 and a 12-4 setback to Salisbury in the second round of the NCAA tournament on May 12. But that achievement paled in comparison to collecting the program’s first NCAA tournament victory, a 5-4 decision over Washington College on May 9. “Win streaks are neat. You always want to win games, but sometimes long winning streaks can hurt a team as well,” Hannan said. “So we don’t really keep tabs on that.” … Upperclassmen, especially seniors, paved the way for the Gophers, but they also got a fair number of contributions from freshmen. Attackman Sam Morgan and midfielder Sam Woodruff each finished with 17 points, long-stick midfielder Ethan Haddaway registered 35 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers, and midfielder David Waligurski posted two goals, three assists, 18 groundballs and five caused turnovers as a two-way midfielder. “I really believe that we have people within the program that are returning that are going to do a super job and keep the program moving in the right direction,” Hannan said.