Difficult spring for St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Women’s lacrosse, sailing highlight 2017 season
Wins were few and far between for St. Mary’s College of Maryland this past spring as its baseball, men’s and women’s lacrosse and men’s and women’s tennis teams struggled.
The four teams combined for a 34-63 record (14-34 Capital Athletic Conference) and just one team — women’s lacrosse — finished with a conference record of over .500. They were 9-9 overall.
The women’s sailing team recently placed 12th overall at the Sperry Top-Sider College Sailing Women’s National Championships May 25 and 26 in Charleston, S.C.
“We were close to being a really, really top team and we had moments,” St. Mary’s head sailing coach Adam Werblow said. “After four races we were winning the regatta and I think all that proves that we have the capability and we train well and prepared well.”
The Seahawks finished with 358 points. In Division A, Carolyn Smith and Julia Monro led St. Mary’s to a sixth-place finish with 135 points. Smith was later named All-American honorable mention for the second straight year.
“They sailed their best event of their entire career,” Werblow said. “And it was awesome.”
The B Division team — which consisted of skipper Greer Wattson along with Lydia McPherson-Shambarger, Grace Papp, Kate Bjerregaard and Elizabeth Dennison — placed 14th with 223 points.
“Unfortunately, to do well in the national championships we need both divisions to do well at the same time and Greer had a terrible finals,” Werblow said. “We just didn’t execute enough of the time and we had a couple of other weird things befall us.”
The Seahawks qualified for the national championship, in large part by the B Division team’s runner-up finish in the semifinals.
“That was as good a performance as Greer as ever had in her college career,” Werblow said of the senior. “It was really, really nice.”
Yale University won the national championship with 185 points.
The Seahawks’ coed team will compete in the Gill Coed National Championships, also in Charleston, which runs through Friday.
On the field, courts
The women’s lacrosse team opened the 2017 campaign with wins over Southern Virginia, Virginia Wesleyan and Dickinson (Pa.) and outscored the opposition 43-11.
Three straight losses followed, but the Seahawks added another three-game win streak late in the season and finished 9-9 (fourthplace 5-3 CAC).
Of their nine losses, five were to ranked teams and four were by a one or two goals, including an 8-7 season-ending loss to Christopher Newport (Va.) in the CAC tournament quarterfinals on April 18 on a goal with 27.6 seconds remaining in regulation.
Lacey Brown led the Seahawks in goals (36) and shots (58). Erika Kopf led the team in free-position goals (11, on 20 attempts) and assists (18) and Mackenzie Rayburn added a team-best 41 groundballs and 20 caused turnovers. Kopf and Brown were also named college athletes of the month for March and April, respectively.
Jason Childs men’s lacrosse team struggled this season as it opened the season with eight straight losses and finished 1-14 (eighth-place 1-7 CAC).
The Seahawks picked up their lone win of the season when it pounded Wesley (Del.) 20-7 on March 25 after outscoring the Wolverines 14-2 in the second and third quarters combined.
St. Mary’s lost four games by three goals or fewer, including a pair of 9-8 defeats to Marywood (Pa.) on Feb. 25 and Frostburg State in the season finale on April 15.
Team leaders were Max Groen in goals (25) and assists (16), Michael Bucci in face-off wins (148) and groundballs (71, 41 more than the next closest teammate), Steve Jones in shots (54), Brendan Steele in man-up goals (6) and Conner Campbell had a team-best 24 caused turnovers. Jones also set a school record with eight goals in a 26-18 loss against Illinois Wesleyan on March 12.
Midfielder Brendan Rollins was later named the college’s men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Ray LaPlaca, a graduate of The Calverton School from Owings, had 18 goals, seven assists and 15 groundballs and had a career-best four goals and five points in the loss to Illinois Wesleyan. Connor Quinn, a graduate of The Calverton School from Lusby, had 16 points and 19 groundballs and Dan Long, a St. Mary’s Ryken High School graduate from Mechanicsville, had 12 goals, 10 assists and 24 groundballs.
St. Mary’s baseball struggled under first-year head coach Bernie Stratchko as it compiled a record of 9-22 (10th place 3-15 CAC). The Seahawks were 8-8 at home but failed to win a game in 13 road games.
After beginning the season with losses to Randolph Macon (Va.), the St. Mary’s took three games from Mount St. Mary (N.Y.) while outscoring them 21-11. But the Seahawks won just three of the next 13 games, which included a five- and a sixgame losing skid.
St. Mary’s batted .247 and slugged .325 and scored just 152 runs (4.9 per game).
Jay Hammett, a Chopticon High School graduate from Coltons Point, led St. Mary’s in most offensive categories including hits (38), doubles (10), RBIs (28) and batting average (.345). He also hit three of his team’s five home runs.
Brandon Snow, a Northern High School graduate from Owings, scored a team-high 20 runs and Lucas Kraft stole a teamhigh 10 bases in 12 attempts. Pitcher Zach Thompson had a team-high four wins, including a complete game.
The men’s tennis team was 8-9 (sixth-place 2-5 CAC) this season and had one of their best stretches of the season when defeated Stevenson, Thomas College (Maine) and Marietta College (Ohio) during the PTR Spring TennisFest March 13 to 15 in Hilton Head, S.C.
Ron Stith, a Lackey High School graduate from Cheltenham, had a team-high 10 singles wins and James Loftis and freshman Ethan Garren each won a team-best seven doubles matches. Jack Brandenburg won his last four matches of the season and finished 6-4. Freshman Jon Gorel, who with Garren held down the top two spots, broke his wrist late in the season but was still named to the All-CAC second team.
Connor McKissick, a Leonardtown High School graduate from Leonardtown, was 9-9 in singles play and 5-14 in doubles.
The women’s team was 7-9 (fifth-place 3-4 CAC) this season, including wins over Stevenson, Olivet (Mich.) College and Marietta at the PTR Spring TennisFest.
Raziela Manangan and Claire Bodine, who was later named the college’s female rookie of the year among all sports, each had 10 singles wins and Marissa Romanek (a Huntingtown High School graduate from Sunderland), Savannah Bergen (a Leonardtown High School graduate from Leonardtown) and Melissa Barall each won seven matches. Romanek was 8-9 in doubles play and Bergen was 6-9.
“Both our men’s and women’s teams were very young this year,” said head coach Tyler Robinson, a Leonardtown High School graduate who returned just one starter on the men’s team and two on the women’s side. “Melissa had another solid season at No. 1 singles and Connor returned to the No. 1 doubles spot, but stepped up his performance in singles with a very solid season at No. 3. Our veteran players brought great leadership and experience while the freshmen really impressed me with their positive energy and hustle.”