Mercyhurst was a surprise team to make it to the CWPA Eastern Championships, so we reached out to their head coach Curtis Robinette about their run to Easterns, and some other topics.
1. To get past Johns Hopkins and Princeton your team had to play your best, and was being able to upset those teams due to your teams confidence since you have been playing well with your team on a seven game winning streak heading into the tournament?
Yes, we did have a lot of confidence going into Southerns because we were winning games despite having a low shooting percentage. We were getting quality offensive possessions, just not finishing. That became a point of emphasis leading up to Southerms.
2. Was there any indication that either of those teams were overlooking your squad?
Not at all, I think both games were a case of several factors going right for us at the right time.
3. Against Princeton you trailed 10-7 late in the third quarter, were you surprised at all that your team was able to comeback and get the win?
Sure, the outcome of the Princeton game was a situation we hadn't been in before. In years past, we could put together three quality quarters to hang with top-tier teams, but eventually we would make consecutive mistakes that would allow our opponents pull away late in games. This year's team is different. We have limited those mistakes and we have received big contributions from our bench, which has changed the way we finish games.
4. Do you think your success might have the CWPA consider how they seed the Southern tournament going forward? A possibility could be to alternate divisions like they do at Easterns, or actually play a complete round robin with both sides of the division. Seems more fair to do that then just give one division the top seeds.
No system is perfect and the Western region teams have the opportunity to improve their seeding going into Southerns, but it requires us to travel more and schedule games outside our region. Think of it like building a resume. The disadvantage is finding weekends to play non-conference CWPA games late in the season leading up to the postseason.
5. You defeated MIT early in the season, how did you guys matchup against them then. Plus, how has your team changed since that early season matchup.
MIT is a tough match-up. They have a creative offense which is hard to scheme plus they won't beat themselves with turnovers which keeps them in every game. We are much more organized since we played MIT in September. We were still trying to find our identity and simply in poor game shape.
6. Finally, do you think getting those big wins and making Easterns could be the jumping off point of your team getting better players while advancing your program up the hierarchy of the CWPA and NCAA?
I think we have had several great players that have played at Mercyhurst since the program was started in 2001. I like to think that we will continue to bring in these quality players, but qualifying for Easterns and the recent rankings will help increase the number of top level players each year. The CWPA is a tough conference to recruit in with all of the prestigious academic institutions; however, I have to imagine that we have opened the eyes of several recruits that would not have thought about us before the wins.
Mercyhurst's first game is against MIT on Friday at 4 p.m. ET.