TOWSON, Md. — Although Goucher will be making its first appearance in the Landmark Conference playoffs when it faces top-seeded Catholic in the semifinals Wednesday, it will be the fourth head-to-head postseason encounter between the Gophers and the Cardinals.
The two schools clashed three times in the postseason when they were both members of the Capital Athletic Conference. Catholic prevailed 5-1 when they met in the opening round of the 1991 CAC postseason tournament and came out on top 3-1 three years later, again in the first round of the CAC playoffs. In between, Goucher advanced to the CAC semifinals in 1993 by pinning a 2-1 setback on the Cardinals.
Wednesday's game, which gets under way at 2:30 p.m. in the nation's capital, will be the 30th all-time meeting between Goucher and Catholic in the sport of men's soccer in a series that dates back to 1991. With their 1-0 win over head coach Bryan Laut's Gophers back on October 8, the Cardinals gained a 21-8 advantage in the series.
Goucher will also be looking for its first victory over Catholic since a 3-1 triumph the first time they met as members of the Landmark Conference in 2007.
The Cardinals earned the tournament's No. 1 seed thanks to a 6-1-1 record in Landmark contests. The Gophers finished in a three-way tie with Scranton and Elizabethtown for fourth place, but captured the final playoff berth because they defeated the Royals, 2-0, which gave them the tiebreaker.
"Wednesday will be a special day for our program," Laut said prior to his team's final practice before the playoff game. "We are getting the opportunity to compete in our league playoffs for the first time against what can be argued is the most consistent and best team in our conference. I am excited about the great opportunity ahead of us and am extremely confident that our team will perform to its fullest ability like it has every game this season."
The other semifinal matches Drew and No. 2 seed U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The winners of the two semifinals will meet Saturday for the 2014 Landmark title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs.