UMBC at Maryland: Three things to watch
The Terps have won 24 of 30 meetings in this series, but bragging rights belong to the Retrievers, who have won the past two games. Here are three factors that could play a role in tomorrow’s outcome.
1) UMBC coach Don Zimmerman won’t reveal his hand, but figure on a rotation of juniors J.D. Harkey, Lance Diamond and Jordan Pierce and freshman Justin Radebaugh taking reps on faceoffs. Junior Kyle Wimer is another option, but he’s so valuable on offense and defense, Zimmerman might not want to exhaust him by taking faceoffs. With much of the attention centered on the Retrievers winning just 32.8 percent of their faceoffs, Wimer argued that the faceoff guys don’t deserve all of the blame. "A lot of these are 50-50 balls, and we’re just not coming up with them right now," he said. "If we’re getting in there and it’s a 50-50 ball, we feel like we should be coming up with it. It just hasn’t been going our way." Maryland has its own issues with junior Bryn Holmes (42 of 64, 65.6 percent) not expected to play due to a groin injury. Senior Jeff Reynolds (17 of 28, 60.7 percent) and freshman Jake Bernhardt (five of eight, 62.5 percent) could see some time at the "X."
2) Which offense has its way? The Terps are tied with Colgate for seventh in the country, scoring 12.6 goals a game, and UMBC isn’t far behind at 12.0 goals per contest. The Retrievers’ first midfield line of Peet Poillon (eight goals and 13 assists), Wimer (12, five) and Alex Hopmann (13, one) is widely considered one of the best in the nation. But Maryland’s unit of Dan Groot (five, six), Jeremy Sieverts (seven, two) or Reynolds (five, three) is just as dangerous and can alleviate some of the defensive pressure on attackmen Grant Catalino (11, 10) and Will Yeatman (six, eight). One footnote: The Terps would be wise to avoid penalties as UMBC leads the country with a 66.7 conversion rate in extra-man situations.
3) The Retrievers have declined to cite tomorrow’s game as a make-or-break contest for the season. But they were clearly perturbed after the loss to Princeton, and Zimmerman said he could sense a different vibe among the players during practice earlier in the week. "The team was affected by those two losses, and I think they are in agreement that there are no moral victories," Zimmerman said. "And I’m glad they were affected by the losses. We had a chance to go out and win and we didn’t. We didn’t get it done. But you can’t dwell on the past, you can’t lick your wounds. You’ve just got to get in there and keep trying to improve. That’s the attitude of this team."