UMBC's next diamond in the rough?
In 2007, UMBC fielded an offense that included an unknown freshman named Cayle Ratcliffe, who scored a team-high 42 goals. Last season, the Retrievers unleashed a junior transfer named Ryan Smith, who led the team with 29 goals. UMBC's latest find might be on the defensive end.
Junior Brian Schneider made his first start and his effort against junior attackman Curtis Dickson played a role in the No. 6 Retrievers' 14-9 victory over Delaware on Saturday.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Schneider kept the 6-2, 190-pound Dickson, who led the Blue Hens in goals (46) and points (62) last season, off the scoreboard until 17 seconds had elapsed in the second quarter. By that time, UMBC enjoyed a 6-1 advantage.
Dickson scored another goal in the third period and would finish with five, but the last three occurred in the final six minutes of the game when the contest was already out of reach.
Schneider's showing was somewhat surprising considering he hadn't played since 2006.
"Brian came back in the best condition that he’s been in," coach Don Zimmerman said. "I think he really showed a determination to come back ready to go, and it’s paying off for him. He’s earned a starting berth, and we assigned him to Curtis Dickson because we felt like his left hand and the way he plays was a good matchup for Dickson. So we’re pleased with Brian’s performance."
So could Schneider become the shutdown defenseman that the unit needs after senior Bobby Atwell was lost for the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament? Zimmerman wasn't ready to make such a comparison.
"Bobby was our most aggressive, take-charge, bring-it-on guy, and I think Brian has more of a quiet confidence," the coach said. "He’s a real student of the game, listens and learns and really followed our game plan to perfection."