Postseason has arrived and if the first weekend was any indication, we are in store for a wild month. Entering the CWPA Southern Division Championship, most observers would have listed Navy and Princeton as the favorites with Johns Hopkins and Bucknell as dark horses who could find their way into the championship game. But following the divisional tournament, everyone was talking about Mercyhurst.
The small school from Pennsylvania took Johns Hopkins and Salem International to qualify for this weekend’s CWPA Eastern Championship. They followed that up by taking down last season’s national championship third-place finisher Princeton to advance to the CWPA Southern Division Championship game. Below head coach Curtis Robinette discusses this incredible sequence of events and his squad.
Mercyhurst upset Johns Hopkins and then took down Princeton in an all-out shocker. Can you tell us a little about this past weekend’s success?
Robinette: It was a great weekend. Our goal was to beat Hopkins and qualify for Easterns. It was a shock beating Princeton as we were down three in the third and then two in the fourth quarter. When we scored three goals in 65 seconds to take the lead was when the thought that we could beat Princeton set in.
Can you talk to us about your draw at Easterns and what you need to do to beat MIT first and then take aim at St. Francis or Navy?
Robinette: We need to get the guys motivated for practice the next two weeks. This is new territory for us. We have never qualified for Easterns before. We need to focus on what we want to do both offensively and defensively.”
You played for Slippery Rock under Doc Hunkler. Is Mercyhurst’s program made from the same mold?
Robinette: You are definitely right about that. Like Slippery Rock, we are a hard-working team that comes from a shallow-deep pool. We need to be disciplined and we recruit hard-working guys with a chip on their shoulder.
What makes Brett Luehman, who has trained with the Canadian Junior National team, a potent scorer?
Robinette: Brett has a lot of tools both offensively and defensively. He is long with a good shot. His advantage is his attitude and demeanor. He never gets too high or too low.
Garrett Schoeman is a former Junior College All-American from California who is really filling the stat sheet for Mercyhurst. What role does he serve for the team?
Robinette: Garrett is definitely our leader. Sometimes junior college transfers take a year to find their role on the team. He stepped in on day one into a leadership role. He controls the offense along with the defense and his gameday intensity is second to none.