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July 2, 2011

UMBC adds former Binghamton head coach to staff

Ed Stephenson, a former UMBC assistant coach from 1995 to 2000 who worked to beat the Retrievers as the head coach at Binghamton, has re-joined UMBC.

The university announced Friday that Stephenson has been added to Don Zimmerman’s staff as the associate head coach. Stephenson fills the void created when Pat Tracy, then the team’s defensive coordinator, left for High Point on May 31.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Ed Stephenson return to UMBC,” Zimmerman said in a written statement distributed by the school. “Coach Stephenson is a person of principle and strong character. He has proven himself to be one of the top defensive minds in the game of lacrosse and is admired and respected by his colleagues. His ability to relate to players both on and off the field is invaluable to their growth and development.” 

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June 8, 2011

Review & preview: UMBC

Here’s the third installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Wednesday’s visit takes us to UMBC.

REVIEW

The good: The first half of the Retrievers’ season was mired in disappointment as they opened the campaign with a 1-4 record, including a four-game losing skid. A 16-5 setback to Stony Brook in the America East opener for both teams made things worse, but a 10-9 win against Towson kicked off a four-game winning streak and a berth in the America East tournament. “That game up in Stony Brook couldn’t have gone much worse, and this team showed a lot of guts and character by coming back three days later and beating Towson, a team that had beaten Stony Brook,” coach Don Zimmerman said. “I think that was the turning point of our season. But there’s still plenty to work on, and I think the key is, in my interview exits with the team, everyone seemed positive, encouraged, hungry and determined to keep it going in that direction.” … One bright spot was the play of sophomore Scott Jones, especially after he was moved from midfield to attack. Since moving to attack in a 15-6 setback to Maryland on March 18, Jones recorded 15 of 23 goals and six of 10 assists at that position. “Scott Jones, putting him back on attack and letting him play mainly off-ball attack inside, I thought Scott really blossomed and had a breakout year considering that he didn’t do much his freshmen year,” Zimmerman said. “I’m anticipating him coming back as a junior and really building on the progress that he made.” … After going with sophomore Adam Cohen as the primary goalkeeper in eight of 13 games last season, UMBC turned starting duties over to junior Brian McCullough, who posted a 10.29 goals-against average and a .473 save percentage in 11 starts. “Coming into the season, we had two goalkeepers in Brian and Adam Cohen,” Zimmerman said. “Both had their opportunities, and they knew they were going to be competing for that starting slot. Both worked very hard, but I just felt like Brian played well enough to start. He started off well, he broke his thumb and had to miss a few games, but he came back and played injured and gave us, I thought, a nice, consistent performance throughout the year. So we were pleased with that because that was obviously an issue in 2010.”

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June 2, 2011

Loyola's Toomey, UMBC's Zimmerman say they have not been contacted by Navy

With Navy still searching for a successor to Richie Meade, speculation about whom the Midshipmen have targeted to be the program’s eighth head coach is rampant.

At least two local coaches said the academy has not reached out to them.

Loyola coach Charley Toomey was the head coach of the Naval Academy Preparatory School in 1993 and an assistant coach with the Midshipmen in 1994 and 1995, but he said that he is happy coaching the Greyhounds.

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June 1, 2011

UMBC defensive coordinator departs for High Point

Pat Tracy, an assistant coach at UMBC since the 2008 season and the defensive coordinator for the past three years, has left the school to join the staff at High Point.

Tracy, a Baltimore native and St. Paul’s graduate, joins Jon Torpey’s staff as the associate head coach, High Point announced Tuesday.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Pat Tracy join our program,” Torpey said in a written statement provided by the university. “Having competed with and against Pat, I can honestly say that he is one of the most honest, competitive and hard-working people I have ever had the pleasure to be associated with.”

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May 3, 2011

Loyola, UMBC put players on all-conference teams

Several players from Loyola and UMBC were honored by their respective conferences with their inclusion on all-league teams.

Senior defenseman Steve Dircks and sophomore attackman Mike Sawyer represented the No. 18 Greyhounds on the Eastern College Athletic Conference first team.

Dircks, a three-year starter on defense, ranks second on the team in caused turnovers (14), and he has helped the defense limit opponents to 8.0 goals per game, which ranks 15th in Division I.

Sawyer leads Loyola in both goals (27) and points (32) this season and has scored at least one point in every game this season. He was the ECAC Rookie of the Year in 2009.

Senior faceoff specialist John Schiavone was selected to the conference second team. He has won 55.2 percent (116-of-210) of his draws and leads the team in ground balls with 63.

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UMBC gets second crack -- within five days -- at Hartford

UMBC’s 10-6 loss to Hartford on Saturday night not only ended a four-game run for the Retrievers, but it also translated into another trip to Connecticut.

Because of the setback, UMBC (6-6 overall and 3-2 in the America East) dropped to the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament, and a semifinal match with the aforementioned Hawks (9-6, 3-2) awaits on Wednesday night.

Now the burden is on the Retrievers to overcome a quick turnaround and a repeat trip to Hartford.

“That’s the beauty of home-field advantage,” UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said Monday. “You can stay at home and play on your home field. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to get the game down here at UMBC, and now we have to go back. That’s something we have to be able to handle and go back up there with the attitude that we’re still playing and let’s see if we can do a better job this time around.”

The Retrievers outshot the Hawks, 49-29, but only 23 of those attempts were on net. Junior goalkeeper Scott Bement made 14 saves, but Zimmerman said the offense must improve its shot selection.

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April 29, 2011

UMBC has another reason for taking care of business on Saturday

UMBC owns a 5-2 advantage in its series with America East foe Hartford, but snapping a two-game losing skid to the Hawks isn’t the only driving force for the Retrievers at Al-Marzook Field in Connecticut on Saturday.

If Hartford wins, the Hawks (8-6 overall and 2-2 in the conference) would earn the No. 2 seed, while UMBC (6-5, 3-1) would get the No. 3 seed due to the head-to-head tiebreaker. That would mean Hartford would serve as host in an America East tournament semifinal on Wednesday night against – surprise – the Retrievers.

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman acknowledged that avoiding a return trip to Connecticut in a span of four days should serve as inspiration this weekend.

“I think first and foremost, we want to go up there and play our best lacrosse,” he said Thursday. “Obviously, any team wants to play at home versus on the road. So I’m sure there are some motivational factors there.”

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April 20, 2011

Loyola, UMBC, Stevenson, St. Mary's earn weekly awards

Players from Loyola, UMBC, Stevenson and St. Mary’s were recipients of weekly honors from their respective conferences.

Senior goalkeeper Jake Hagelin was named the Eastern College Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week after he made a career-best 18 saves in No. 19 Loyola’s 6-5 four-overtime win against Georgetown on Sunday. The Havre de Grace native and Boys’ Latin graduate made six of his stops in the extra session and also collected four ground balls.

Sophomore attackman Scott Jones was cited by the America East as its Player of the Week for his five-goal performance in UMBC’s 13-9 victory over Albany on Saturday night. Four of those five goals occurred in the fourth quarter, and Jones currently leads the Retrievers with 17.

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April 19, 2011

UMBC re-asserting itself in America East

Teams in the America East might not like hearing this, but UMBC is making a run in the conference. 

With Saturday’s 13-9 victory over Albany, the Retrievers have won three consecutive games and four of their last five, and they are currently tied with Hartford for second place in the America East. UMBC, which is 5-5 overall and 2-1 in the conference, is immersing itself in something it hasn’t felt in a while: a boost in team morale.

“I think our confidence is growing, and I think our confidence is growing with our experience,” coach Don Zimmerman said Monday. “We’re deeper into the season, and I just see us growing and developing and with that comes the confidence. To be able to go up to Albany and play them at home and come away with a win is going to add to your confidence. But we also realize that we can play better. We’re putting some runs together, but we haven’t played a 60-minute game yet, and that’s what we’re striving for. So I think our confidence is growing, but they certainly realize that we still can be better, and that’s what makes it fun and exciting to get back out there today and get back to work.”

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April 14, 2011

Prize still within reach for UMBC

After dropping four of its first five contests, UMBC has won three of its last four. With a 1-1 record in the America East, the team remains in the hunt for a berth in the four-team conference tournament.

“We’re always trying to play for the conference championship, and in order to do that, you have to make the posteason tournament, which means you have to be one of the top four teams,” coach Don Zimmerman said Wednesday. “We just feel like our confidence is very, very tight. We’ve always felt that conference games are very important, but maybe even more so this year.”

With a 4-5 overall mark, the Retrievers’ best path to the NCAA tournament likely will entail qualifying for the America East tournament and then finding a way to upend No. 11 Stony Brook, which throttled UMBC, 16-5, on April 1.

The team gets to face another league rival this Saturday when UMBC pays a visit to Albany (4-7). The Great Danes’ hot start, which included consecutive wins against Delaware, Massachusetts and Ohio State, has cooled off considerably as they have dropped six of their last seven games, including losses to America East foes Hartford and Vermont.

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April 7, 2011

UPDATED: A pair of UMBC starters nursing injuries -- and an apology

Prior to UMBC’s 10-9 win against visiting Towson on Wednesday night, I posted a blog noting that a few usual starters had been replaced. For redshirt freshman attackman Matt Gregoire and sophomore midfielder Scott Hopmann, there was a good reason.

Both Gregoire and Hopmann are dealing with injuries, according to a team spokesman. Gregoire suffered an eye injury when a teammate’s stick accidentally poked through the grill of his helmet during practice on Monday. Hopmann injured his hamstring in the team’s 16-5 loss to No. 10 Stony Brook last Friday night.

Of the two, Hopmann’s is considered the less serious, and he is considered questionable for Saturday’s home contest against Binghamton.

In an email to me Thursday morning, Michael Gregoire, the father of Matt Gregoire, wrote that his son “may have permanent damage to his vision as a result of the injury.” Gregoire questioned my choice of words in saying that his son had been “benched.”

He’s right. I should’ve used better judgment in light of the lack of disclosure about these injuries. My apologies to the Gregoire and Hopmann families.

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Postscript from Towson at UMBC

No one is proclaiming that UMBC will suddenly transform into a national title contender after the Retrievers held off visiting Towson, 10-9, at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Wednesday night.

But there’s no denying that the win was a much-needed salve for a team wounded by personnel upheaval, inexperience issues and execution problems.

UMBC fell to No. 10 Stony Brook last Friday night in a game that wasn’t even a contest after the first quarter. The Retrievers took just one shot, won just one faceoff, and collected just six ground balls in the first half en route to an 11-0 deficit at intermission.

But the team can still take aim at a berth in the NCAA tournament y grabbing one of our coveted spots in the America East tournament. UMBC will wrap up the regular season with four contests against conference foes – beginning with Saturday’s home clash with Binghamton.

That’s why coach Don Zimmerman, while visibly relieved by the victory, wasn’t jumping out of his seat just yet.

“It’s great to win,” he said. “We got a good win tonight. We’re going to enjoy tonight. … But tomorrow, we’ve got to get right back to work. We’ve got Binghamton coming in here on Saturday, and they’re always a tough team. We want to continue to move forward, and that’s going to be the approach.”

Other notes:

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April 6, 2011

Towson at UMBC: Halftime thoughts

In a meeting between 2-5 teams, host UMBC has taken the first step to getting that third victory by sprinting out to a 6-3 advantage over Towson at halftime at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville Wednesday night.

The Retrievers, which has scored five goals in the first half of their last three contests, scored the first three goals of the first quarter, chasing out senior goalkeeper Travis Love who did not register a save.

The Tigers have not gotten closer than two goals as UMBC has continued to maintain a comfortable distance. The Retrievers’ largest lead of the game was four when junior attackman Rob Grimm converted a pass from sophomore attackman Scott Jones on a man-up chance to give the team a 6-2 lead with 4:17 remaining in the second quarter.

Other notes:

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UMBC makes changes to starting lineup

UMBC is shaking things up for its annual rivalry with Towson.

The Retrievers have benched junior attackman Rob Grimm and redshirt freshman attackman Matt Gregoire in favor of sophomore Joe Lustgarten and freshman Ryan Johnston.

Grimm is the team leader in both assists (11) and points (18), while Gregoire has registered four goals and two assists. Johnston scored the first two goals of his career in UMBC’s 16-5 loss to No. 10 Stony Brook last Friday night, while Lustgarten scored once.

Sophomore midfielder Scott Hopmann, who ranks second in goals (9), is also taking a seat. Freshman Zach Linkous, who posted one goal and two assists on Friday, will start.

Finally, junior defenseman Tim Shaeffer is being demoted in favor of sophomore Sam McKelvey.

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Towson at UMBC: Three things to watch

Towson and UMBC enter this cross-town rivalry with identical 2-5 records. The Tigers have upset then-No. 4 Stony Brook, but will likely need to capture the Colonial Athletic Association tournament for a spot in the NCAA tournament. The Retrievers must follow a similar path by claiming the America East tournament. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Wednesday night.

1) Waiting for good shots. Perhaps more than any other season, Towson has been plagued by shooting woes. For the season, the offense has scored just 55 times on 245 shots. The team’s shooting percentage of .224 can’t even crack the top 50 in that category in Division I. That would seem to play into UMBC’s favor, but coach Don Zimmerman said the numbers can be deceiving. “I think a lot of teams’ shooting percentage is down,” he said. “I don’t think it’s just Towson. We hold them in the highest regards as far as their ability to shoot the ball.”

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April 5, 2011

No quit in UMBC

The 2011 season has been a humbling campaign for UMBC, which is coming off the heels of a 16-5 rout at the hands of America East rival and No. 10 Stony Brook on Friday night.

The Retrievers, which once dominated the conference to the tune of three championships in four years, is now 2-5 overall and 0-1 in the America East. But coach Don Zimmerman said he has sensed no quit among the players.

“Absolutely not,” he said Monday. “I think they’re good kids, and they’re hard workers, and they realize that we are young, and it’s going to take time to develop. We’re staying positive, and to their credit, they’re coming out and despite losing a tough game on Friday night, they came out on Sunday [for practice] and had a good go. I think it’s a testament to their character and attitude.”

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March 22, 2011

UMBC transfer Stockton thriving at Jacksonville

Had Bobby Stockton elected to remain at UMBC, the senior midfielder would have led the team in goals this season.

Instead, Stockton’s 14 goals pace Jacksonville, the school to which he transferred after the 2010 campaign.

“The transition so far has been good,” Stockton said last week. “I’m liking my team. We haven’t started up as well as we wanted to yet, but we’re about to get into our conference now, so this is where the season starts. I think we’re going to be good.”

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March 19, 2011

Postscript from UMBC at Maryland

Travis Reed sat out Maryland’s 15-6 rout of UMBC Friday night and is not expected to play Sunday when St. Joseph’s visits Byrd Stadium.

But the No. 8 Terps could really use Reed when No. 9 North Carolina pays a visit next Saturday.
Sophomore Owen Blye, who started in Reed’s place with seniors Grant Catalino and Ryan Young, wasn’t a liability against the Retrievers, but he shot 0-for-3 and put just one shot on net.

But it sounded like Maryland was in no hurry to rush Reed back after he suffered a shoulder injury in the team’s 8-4 win against Towson a week ago.

“He’s got a little bit of a unique injury,” coach John Tillman said. “To be honest with you, I couldn’t even tell you the name of it. And they say it’s a little more common to car accidents and things like that. So it’s not a broken collarbone, it’s not a separated shoulder. It’s something a little bit different. With range of motion being so important, we were like, ‘Listen, let’s make sure we’re careful with it.’”

Reed is not the most mobile guy on the field, but his accuracy and shot velocity force defenses to pay attention to him. Catalino acknowledged that Reed’s absence was felt.

“Travis plays a big role in our offense, but our team plays in a system, and when one guy goes down, another picks it up,” he said. “So we just moved Owen Blye in there, and the engine runs. Obviously, we miss Travis, but Owen did a great job today.”

Other notes:

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March 18, 2011

UMBC at Maryland: Halftime thoughts

It appears that UMBC’s search for a turning-point win will continue as Maryland has taken a commanding 10-2 lead into halftime at Byrd Stadium in College Park Friday night.

Any hope the Retrievers (1-3) had of potentially upending the No. 8 Terps were extinguished as the hosts scored two goals within the first 3 minutes, 38 seconds of the game en route to a 4-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Sophomore Scott Jones, who started at attack instead of his customary midfield position, ended the drought 2:17 into the second quarter when he banged home a pass from junior attackman Rob Grimm to make it 4-1, but Maryland scored five consecutive times  before both sides exchanged goals in the final 33 seconds of the second quarter.

Other notes:

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Maryland's Reed ruled out for game vs. UMBC

No. 8 Maryland will play host to UMBC Friday night without senior attackman Travis Reed.

Reed, who injured his shoulder in the Terps’ 8-4 win against Towson last Saturday, will be on the sideline at Byrd Stadium.

Reed, who has registered seven goals and six assists in four starts thus far, will be replaced by sophomore Owen Blye, who has posted three goals and three assists in five starts in the midfield.

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UMBC at Maryland: Three things to watch

UMBC has won three of the last four meetings between these rivals, but the Retrievers limp into Friday night’s contest with three consecutive losses after opening the season with a win against Presbyterian. Maryland (4-1) has won two straight, but might be forced to play without senior attackman Travis Reed (shoulder). Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

1) Fury Factor. UMBC coach Don Zimmerman delivered a strong message after the team’s 16-5 loss to Johns Hopkins last Saturday, and the players have reportedly responded in practice. An injured adversary is usually a dangerous one, and Terps coach John Tillman is making sure that his players don’t overlook the Retrievers. “I think they’ll be excited to show that last week was really not them,” Tillman said. “They’re going to try to prove to everybody, especially Maryland, that they’re better than that and that they can beat anybody in the country. … So we have to be very prepared and very disciplined and very smart on Friday. We’re going through exams right now, so there’s another thing going against us. I expect UMBC to play very, very well on Friday night, and I’m hopeful that we play very well, too.”

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March 16, 2011

UPDATED: Maryland's Reed doubtful to play vs. UMBC Friday night

Maryland senior attackman Travis Reed is “not likely” to play when UMBC visits the Terps at Byrd Stadium Friday night.

A team source confirmed that Reed suffered an unspecified injury in Maryland’s 8-4 win against Towson last Saturday. Reed has not practiced the past two days and is scheduled to see a doctor on Wednesday or Thursday. If he cannot practice Thursday, it’s doubtful that coach John Tillman would allow him to play against the Retrievers (1-3).

Reed ranks third on the Terps (4-1) in goals (seven) and points (13) thus far. If he is unavailable, junior Joe Cummings (eight goals and zero assists) could shift from midfield or perhaps freshman Sean McGuire (1, 1).

UPDATE: Sun freelancer Rich Scherr, who covered Maryland’s win against the Tigers, reported that Reed had injured his shoulder. The extent of that injury is unknown at this point.

According to Scherr, Reed briefly re-entered the game in the third quarter before removing himself for the remainder of the contest. “He tried to go again, so to me, that makes me a little bit optimistic,” Terps coach John Tillman said afterwards. “If it was something that was extremely serious, I think they would have prevented him from going back in.”

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March 13, 2011

Postscript from Johns Hopkins vs. UMBC

It’s been documented that Johns Hopkins has fared well when it wins the battle for groundballs. The No. 14 Blue Jays have also proven that they can be dangerous when their midfielders are creating scoring opportunities.

In Saturday’s 16-5 demolition of UMBC at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the offense ran quickly and smoothly – in part – due to the playmaking abilities of the midfielders.

Sophomore John Ranagan scored twice and assists on three others, freshman Rob Guida scored a goal, and sophomore John Greeley assisted on one.

Those might not be the kind of numbers the midfielders from Virginia and Notre Dame produce, but coach Dave Pietramala said Johns Hopkins places other responsibilities on the midfield.

“We’ve asked the middies to be more assertive,” he said. “People watch us play, it’s not about how many goals our midfielders have. It’s, ‘How many slides did they draw?’ There can be a game where they really assert themselves, and they don’t have many goals, but they drew slides and then the attack benefits from those slides. So we’ve asked the middies to be more assertive. We’ve asked the attack to be good off the second pass. … So I think today, we actually got into a rhythm, which was hard the other night because they held the ball. I thought our midfielders were unselfish.”

Ranagan said there’s no competition nor pressure on either the attack or the midfield to lead the offense.

“So far this year, there’s been games when the attack has really stepped up, and there’s been other games when our midfield has had a lot of points,” he said. “But today, I thought all six of us on the field played great today. It’s nice when it all works together.”

Other notes:

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March 12, 2011

UMBC's Zimmerman on loss: "This is unacceptable"

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman is generally an optimistic person, but there was very little that he could take solace in after watching his team get routed, 16-5, by No. 14 Johns Hopkins in the final contest of the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday.

In fact, Zimmerman, whose team had lost three consecutive games after opening the season with a victory, sounded off when asked about toeing the line between disciplining and encouraging the players.

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Attendance announced

It was just announced that the attendance for Saturday’s Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic was 17,057. That’s a somewhat surprising number considering the lineup of No. 1 Syracuse vs. No. 15 Georgetown, No. 2 Virginia vs. No. 13 Cornell and No. 14 Johns Hopkins vs. UMBC.

That’s the second-smallest crowd to watch the Face-Off Classic since its debut in 2007. The smallest crowd to attend the event was 17,000 in 2009, and that was just a doubleheader involving Maryland against Duke and Princeton against Johns Hopkins.

Last March, an announced attendance of 19,742 watched the Face-Off Classic’s first foray into three games.

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Johns Hopkins vs. UMBC: Halftime thoughts

After more than six hours, it appears the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic has run out of gripping, tense dramas as No. 14 Johns Hopkins is enjoying a 9-3 advantage at halftime against UMBC at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore in the final game on Saturday.

After top-ranked Syracuse survived a 9-8 overtime contest against No. 15 Georgetown and No. 2 Virginia edged No. 13 Cornell, 11-9, the Blue Jays (4-1) scored the game’s first three goals and five of the first six to put the Retrievers in a significant hole.

Johns Hopkins has attacked UMBC’s short-stick defensive midfielders, initiating from up top and forcing slides that have opened up shooting lanes for the attackmen.

Sophomore midfielder John Ranagan leads all players with four points on two goals and two assists, and fifth-year senior attackman Chris Boland has registered two goals and one assist.

Other notes:

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Johns Hopkins vs. UMBC: Three things to watch

Both teams enter the contest from opposing directions. No. 14 Johns Hopkins (4-1) defeated Manhattan, 10-3, to further the distance from last Saturday’s 8-3 loss to No. 6 Princeton at Homewood Field. Meanwhile, UMBC (1-2) lost to No. 17 North Carolina, 13-9, last Saturday. Here are a few factors that could influence the outcome in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

1) Testing the Blue Jays’ conditioning. It's no secret that players prefer games over practices, but Wednesday night’s victory over the Jaspers was still physically draining on Johns Hopkins. The Retrievers, however, are well-rested and have spent the week concentrating on the Blue Jays. “I think it’s a team that you know is going to be well-prepared and play extremely hard,” coach Dave Pietramala said of UMBC. “… And yet you only have a day-and-a-half to prepare for them. That’s a concern. I would expect that we’ll see similar things to what Princeton and Manhattan did. A team that wants to be patient and value their possessions, a team that’s very good on the extra man, a team that’s athletic and tough and physical between the boxes.”

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March 10, 2011

Johns Hopkins happy to get past Manhattan

Not many gave Manhattan a serious chance of upending No. 14 Johns Hopkins at Homewood Field Wednesday night, but coach Dave Pietramala sounded delighted that the Blue Jays emerged with a 10-3 victory.

Pietramala cited the letdown factor after the team dropped an 8-3 decision to No. 6 Princeton last Saturday and is slated to meet local rival UMBC at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday.

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Injury could sideline UMBC's starting goalkeeper

UMBC could enter the annual showdown with Johns Hopkins without its starting goalie.

Junior Brian McCullough suffered a thumb injury in the Retrievers’ 13-9 loss to No. 17 North Carolina last Saturday. Coach Don Zimmerman called McCullough – who has posted an 11.60 goals-against average and a .431 save percentage in three starts this season – a “game-time decision” for Saturday’s contest against the No. 14 Blue Jays at the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

“The good news is that Brian had a career game,” Zimmerman said, referring to McCullough’s career-high 14 saves against the Tar Heels. “The bad news is he took a shot to the thumb, and it’s tender, and we’ve got to pad it up. We’ll see how effective he is for this weekend.”

If McCullough is unavailable, UMBC will turn to sophomore Adam Cohen, who registered an 8.76 goals-against average and a .427 save percentage in nine games – eight of which were starts.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, UMBC
        

February 25, 2011

Leftovers from Q&A with UMBC's Dave Brown

Friday’s edition of The Sun included a Q&A with UMBC sophomore midfielder Dave Brown. Due to space limitations, some questions and answers were omitted. Here is the rest.

Question: How would you describe your chemistry with fellow sophomore midfielders Scott Hopmann and Scott Jones?
Answer: It’s pretty close-knit. We hang out a lot on the weekends, and we have a lot of classes together. The chemistry, you can tell, is going to be there for a while. We always know where the other one is going to be and each of us plays and what each person is going to do. It’s really good knowing when someone else is dodging and you know what they’re going to do even before they start their dodge. That way, you can move into a position to score a goal.

Q: What is your favorite movie and why?
A: I really like Shawshank Redemption. I recently just watched it, and it’s really inspirational and motivating. Just to see what the main character goes through makes you feel like you can go through a lot worse.

Q: What is your go-to meal and what is a food you can’t stomach?
A: I really like peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. They’re really quick and easy to make, and they’re quite delicious. I’m not a big seafood guy. I don’t really like fish too much. So if someone puts fish in front of me, I’d rather not eat it.

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February 22, 2011

Weekly awards for UMBC, Loyola, Navy

UMBC was one of three area schools to have players recognized by their respective leagues.

Retrievers sophomore Dave Brown was named by the America East as the Player of the Week after he recorded four goals and three assists in the team’s 16-10 victory over Presbyterian last Saturday. The midfielder posted just one assist in 11 contests last year.

UMBC redshirt freshman Matt Gregoire earned the conference’s Rookie of the Week honor for compiling two goals and one assist. The Crofton native and South River graduate scored the game-winning goal in the third quarter.

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UMBC's midfield depth in flux

UMBC is still waiting to see whether Jamie Kimbles will return for the first time since fall workouts.

The senior midfielder, who registered 12 goals and nine assists last spring, was supposed to anchor a fledgling unit, but he has missed the entire preseason with a hamstring injury, according to coach Don Zimmerman.

Kimbles sat out the team’s season-opening 16-10 victory over Presbyterian on Saturday, and it’s unclear whether he will be able to suit up for the home opener against Rutgers.

“We’re hoping to get him back to practice this week,” Zimmerman said Monday. “Whether or not he’ll be ready to play on Saturday, that has yet to be determined. But he’s back, and he’s doing some stickwork drills. He has improved, and we’re just waiting for the right time to get him back and going at 100 percent.”

The Retrievers are not nearly as optimistic about freshman midfielder Zach Linkous, who sprained his ankle Saturday. Zimmerman characterized Linkous’ status against the Scarlet Knights as “doubtful.”

“I don’t think it’s broken,” Zimmerman said. “He definitely sprained it. I know he’s getting it X-rayed. So I have yet to hear exactly what it is, but right now, I’m thinking that it’s a sprain.”

Kimbles’ absence has had a somewhat unexpected benefit in that it has allowed sophomores Dave Brown, Scott Jones and Scott Hopmann to run the first midfield, and that trio combined for 11 goals and four assists against the Blue Hose.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Zimmerman said. “If a guy goes down, somebody’s got to step up. It’s like being a backup quarterback. You don’t get many snaps, but if the starter goes down, you’ve got to be ready, and I think that’s been the case with this year’s team. Losing a bunch of seniors who had playing roles opened the door for a lot of young guys to get out there and prove themselves, and this is just another example.”

Other notes:

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February 17, 2011

UMBC tabs McCullough as starting goalie

Junior goalkeeper Brian McCullough has been tabbed by UMBC coaches to start in the net when the Retrievers open the season Saturday against Presbyterian.

Sophomore Adam Cohen was thought to be the leading candidate to start after he recorded an 8.76 goals-against average and a .427 save percentage in nine contests (including eight starts) last year and was credited with all four of the team’s wins.

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February 8, 2011

UMBC preview

Tuesday’s entry is the second installment of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state according to their order of finish from last season. Check back on Wednesday for a preview of Towson, and The Sun’s lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Thursday, Feb. 17. Today is UMBC’s turn.

Overview: The Retrievers endured a 4-9 record, their worst mark under coach Don Zimmerman since going 3-9 in 1996. Instability in the cage, the absence of a consistent offense, and a lack of depth plagued UMBC, which had won three of the previous four America East Tournament championships prior to last spring. Returning to that stage could be an arduous task with Stony Brook poised to make a deep run into the postseason, but Zimmerman has demonstrated a knack for maximizing his team’s talents and potential.

Reason for optimism: The Retrievers will need the defense to lead the way while a young and inexperienced offense finds its footing. Junior defensemen Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi became starters after midseason, and Dave Stock, a senior who transferred from CCBC-Essex, might be the third starter. A group that includes sophomores Riley Hansen, Sam McKelvey and Lucas Wood and freshmen Ian Gray and Breck Merritt also shows promise, Zimmerman said. “You win by playing good defense, so obviously, it’s important,” Zimmerman said last Wednesday.

Reason for pessimism: UMBC bid farewell to a large senior class, opening the door for a sizable youth movement. In fact, 28 of the 36 players on the roster are freshmen and sophomores, but Zimmerman refuses to call this a “rebuilding” year. “When you have a young team, there are always going to be growing pains,” he said. “I don’t like to use the term rebuilding. I think you go into each season optimistic. You go in with the intention of winning every game – whether that’s realistic or not, that remains to be seen. But that’s got to be the approach. I would say it’s more of a refocusing year.”

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October 6, 2010

UMBC working to erase memory of 2010

UMBC is several months away from the start of the 2011 season, but the memory of last year’s 4-9 record still resonates within the program.

"I think that’s a strong motivating force behind everyone involved in the program – players, coaches, support staff," said coach Don Zimmerman, who shared his thoughts after the announcement that the Retrievers would meet Johns Hopkins in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic on Saturday, March 12. "It’s a new year, and we want to have a good one."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, UMBC
        

September 30, 2010

A lot of work behind the scenes of the Face-Off Classic and Big City Classic

Thursday’s announcement of the lineup for the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic and the Konica Minolta Big City Classic next spring is the culmination of a lot of work on the part of Inside Lacrosse.

Inside Lacrosse, which is organizing both events, has had to shuffle teams and weekends to line up the programs taking part in both tripleheaders.

For starters, the Face-Off Classic – which will feature Syracuse-Georgetown, Virginia-Cornell and Johns Hopkins-UMBC at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore on Saturday, March 12 – will take place one week later than its usual place on the lacrosse schedule. Also, the showdown between Johns Hopkins and Princeton is no longer an option as both schools expressed an interest to return the game to their campuses. It’s not that different from when Syracuse and Virginia elected to pull their annual contest from the Face-Off Classic slate after the 2008 season.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, UMBC
        

September 29, 2010

Lineups for Face-Off Classic and Big City Classic announced

The lineup for next year’s Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic and the Konica Minolta Big City Classic has been set.

The Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore is scheduled for Saturday, March 12 and will feature the return of Syracuse and Virginia, two programs that have captured a combined 14 NCAA championships but hadn’t participated in the event since 2008.

Syracuse, which has collected 10 national titles including in 2008 and 2009, will open the tripleheader with a contest against Big East Conference rival Georgetown at 11 a.m. Virginia, a Final Four team last season, will meet another 2010 national semifinalist in Cornell at 1:30 p.m. And Johns Hopkins and UMBC will meet in a clash of local rivals at 4 p.m.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

June 8, 2010

Review & preview: UMBC

Here is the second installment of a series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Tuesday, we take a visit with UMBC.

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June 7, 2010

Locals dot Major Lacrosse League draft

The Major Lacrosse League draft took place Sunday night, and a multitude of players with ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area were selected in the six-team draft.

Johns Hopkins midfielder Michael Kimmel was selected with the second overall pick by the Chesapeake Bayhawks, who capped the first round by taking Virginia midfielder Brian Carroll, a Baltimore native and Gilman graduate, with the sixth overall choice.

The last pick of the second round belonged to the Boston Cannons, who grabbed Johns Hopkins attackman Steven Boyle at No. 12.

Chesapeake had two picks in the fourth round and used No. 19 on UMBC midfielder Kyle Wimer and No. 23 on Maryland goalkeeper Brian Phipps.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

May 27, 2010

Johns Hopkins' Kimmel named first-team All American

Johns Hopkins senior midfielder Michael Kimmel earned a spot on the All-American first team, the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced Thursday.

The Towson native and Loyola graduate ranked second among the Blue Jays in both assists (16) and points (39). Kimmel joined Paul Rabil and Del Dressel as the only midfielders in school history to record at least 30 points in each of his four seasons.

Syracuse led all programs with three players on the first team. They are junior long-stick midfielder and Tewaaraton Award finalist Joel White, junior defenseman John Lade and junior goalkeeper John Galloway.

Virginia and North Carolina each placed two players on the first team. Senior defenseman and Tewaaraton Award finalist Ken Clausen and junior midfielder Shamel Bratton represented the Cavaliers, while junior attackman Billy Bitter and junior defenseman Ryan Flanagan stood in for the Tar Heels.

Two other Tewaaraton finalists in Duke fifth-year senior attackman Ned Crotty and Stony Brook junior midfielder Kevin Crowley made the first team. Cornell sophomore attackman Rob Pannell was the final member of the first team.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

May 26, 2010

Local players dot All-Star game

The United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association announced the rosters for the Division I/II North-South All-Star Game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Goucher.

UMBC led the state programs with three players on the South team. They are midfielders Kyle Wimer and Maxx Davis and long-stick midfielder Mike Camardo.

Maryland is represented by goalkeeper Brian Phipps and midfielder Adam Sear. Attackmen Collin Finnerty and Cooper MacDonnell were chosen from Loyola, while defensemen Matt Nealis and Russell Moncure were selected for Mount St. Mary’s. Towson midfielder Will Harrington will also play for the South.

The team will also include three players with high school ties to the Baltimore metropolitan area. They are North Carolina midfielder and St. Paul’s graduate Cryder DiPietro, Limestone midfielder and Annapolis graduate Mike Poerstel and Mercyhurst defenseman and Calvert Hall graduate Chris Eline.

The South team will be coached by Mount St. Mary's coach Tom Gravante.

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Categories: Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

May 6, 2010

Postscript from Albany at UMBC

After several years of standing atop the mountain, UMBC discovered what many climbers realize: at some point, you’ve got to come down.

After four consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament and three America East Tournament crowns in four years, the Retrievers’ run of success ended Wednesday night with an 11-7 loss to Albany in a conference tournament semifinal at UMBC Stadium.

Finishing at 4-9 – the program’s worst record under coach Don Zimmerman since going 3-9 in 1996 – UMBC struggled despite the presence of 16 seniors on the Opening Day roster.

The Retrievers shuffled goalkeepers like a card shark in Atlantic City, could not get consistent production from the second midfield, and bid farewell to senior defenseman and team captain Bobby Atwell, who left the team for undisclosed reasons after being benched for the first quarter against Towson.

Zimmerman, who still has maintained his youthful look despite the losing, said the onus is on the players and coaches to review their efforts and make changes.

"You’ve got to do some soul-searching, and I think every coach and player on this team has to do some soul-searching," he said. "It wasn’t a good year. We played a very difficult schedule early on, but then we were kind of inconsistent as the season progressed. It’s a negative that we need to turn into a positive. As a coach, I’ve got to go back and look at everything that we do, and see if we can’t figure a way to turn this thing around. We’ve had some very good years here. This year was not a good year. But certainly we believe that we can get back to our winning ways, and that’s what we’ll be working on."

Other notes:

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May 5, 2010

Albany at UMBC: Halftime thoughts

UMBC isn’t having quite the easy time it had against Albany in the regular season.

The Retrievers trail, 6-4, at halftime of an America East Tournament semifinal here in Catonsville – which is a far cry from the teams’ first meeting on April 17 when UMBC sprinted to a 7-2 start en route to a comfortable 12-7 victory.

The Great Danes have taken advantage of a pair of goals off unsettled situations. Senior defenseman Brendan Gleason fed freshman midfielder Mike Woods off of transition, and freshman defenseman Anthony Ostrander scored off of a face-off.

The Retrievers also have not been able to find an answer for redshirt freshman midfielder Dwayne Stewart, who scored both of his goals in the second quarter. On both occasions, Stewart, the conference’s Rookie of the Week, used his quickness to create enough space to fire shots past freshman goalkeeper Adam Cohen (two saves).

UMBC has taken too many high shots against sophomore goalie John Carroll, who has four saves. The Retrievers need to vary their shots and start taking advantage of extra-man opportunities. The man-up offense is 0-for-1 tonight and has not converted on its last 16 chances.

Senior attackman Chris Jones leads UMBC with two goals, and sophomore attackman Rob Grimm has chipped in one goal and one assist. Senior attackman Matt Latham, who leads the team with 25 goals, has been held scoreless.

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Albany at UMBC: Three things to watch

As noted on Monday, UMBC has enjoyed tremendous success playing host in the America East Tournament, winning seven consecutive games at UMBC Stadium. The Retrievers (4-8 overall and 3-2 in the conference) will try to make it eight straight against Albany (4-10, 3-2), which nipped UMBC, 9-8, in overtime in a conference tournament semifinal in 2004. Here are a few things I will be looking for when the Great Danes and Retrievers meet on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

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Seven UMBC players earn all-conference honors

UMBC had seven players gain recognition from the America East Conference, including placing four on the first team.

Senior attackman Matt Latham, senior midfielder Kyle Wimer, senior defenseman Matt Kresse and senior short-stick defensive midfielder Maxx Davis earned first-team honors.

Latham, an Eldersburg native and Liberty graduate, leads the team in goals (25) and ranks second among Division I players in shooting percentage (25 of 47 for a 53.2 percentage). Wimer, a repeat first-team selection, leads the Retrievers in scoring with 35 points on 16 goals and 19 assists and has moved into 15th place in program history with 133 career points.

Kresse, a team captain, has played 60 games at close defense, starting 49 of them. Davis, a Baltimore native and Friends graduate, ranks second on the team in groundballs (31) after making the switch to short-stick defensive midfielder this season.

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May 4, 2010

Q&A with ESPN analyst Mark Dixon

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon will be providing commentary on Saturday at noon when No. 20 Johns Hopkins (6-7) visits No. 12 Loyola (9-3) in what will be a pivotal game for both teams. Dixon talks about the Johns Hopkins-Loyola showdown, Towson’s berth in the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament and UMBC’s hopes of capturing a third straight America East Tournament crown.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Navy, Q&A, Towson, UMBC
        

May 3, 2010

Second RPI list is in

The NCAA released its second Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) list on Monday, and top of the list remains the same.

Virginia (14-1), Maryland (10-3), North Carolina (11-2), Syracuse (12-1) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1-5 as they were last week.

Cornell (9-4), Princeton (9-4), Loyola (9-3), Stony Brook (10-3) and Georgetown (8-5) round out the top 10. Princeton and Loyola each dropped a spot, while Cornell vaulted over them from No. 8.

Locally, Johns Hopkins (6-7) jumped two places to No. 14, Towson (6-7) fell four spots to No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (10-4) dropped one place to No. 24, and UMBC (4-8) moved down four spots to No. 38.

Navy (7-8) fell two places to No. 26, but since the season is over and the team has a sub-.500 record, the Midshipmen are mathematically eliminated from postseason consideration.

The RPI, a rating that accounts for record and strength of schedule in that stronger opponents yield higher RPIs, is one tool that the NCAA selection committee will evaluate prior to finalizing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The 16-team bracket will be unveiled on Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

UMBC hitting on all cylinders at home

UMBC has made a habit of qualifying for the America East Tournament, earning a berth in the tourney every year since the program joined the league in 2004. The Retrievers have been nearly as automatic when it comes to prevailing in tournament games at home.

UMBC (4-8), which plays host to Albany in a tournament semifinal on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m., has won seven straight tournament contests at home after dropping the first two back in 2004 and 2005. The team is 3-0 in championship finals at UMBC Stadium.

"I think any time you play at home should give your team a psychological edge," coach Don Zimmerman said. "Certainly, playing an America East Conference tournament game magnifies that. Our guys don’t have to sleep in a hotel before the game, they’re sleeping in their own beds, and they’re able to stick to their routines. All of those things go into giving you an opportunity to take advanatge, but you still have to go out and play 60 minutes."

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April 26, 2010

NCAA releases first RPI list

The NCAA released its first Ratings Percentage Index -- aka RPI -- and four of the top five spots are occupied by teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia (13-1), North Carolina (11-2), Maryland (9-3) and Duke (11-4) are Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 on the list. Only Syracuse (11-1) at No. 4 breaks up the monopoly.

Princeton (9-3), Loyola (9-2), Cornell (8-4), Stony Brook (9-3) and Towson (6-5) round out the top 10. Locally, Johns Hopkins (5-7) sits at No. 14, Mount St. Mary's (8-4) at No. 23,  Navy (6-7) at No. 24 and UMBC (4-7) at No. 34.

The RPI, a rating that accounts for record and strength of schedule in that stronger opponents yield higher RPIs, is one tool that the NCAA selection committee will evaluate prior to finalizing the field for the NCAA Tournament. The 16-team bracket will be unveiled on Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

April 20, 2010

Hope blooms for UMBC

Smiles were at a premium, but over the last two weeks, there’s been a revived sense of optimism surrounding UMBC

After a 1-7 start, the Retrievers have won back-to-back games for the first time since capturing the America East Conference Tournament last May. Morale in Catonsville is climbing, according to coach Don Zimmerman.

"We didn’t win for six weeks," he said. "So that was six Mondays where our guys came in and to their credit, they hung in there and continued coming to practice ready to work, ready to improve. But we didn’t see any positive results from a won-loss standpoint. Now we’ve got two wins under our belt, and the guys remember what it was like to win. Obviously, they feel good about it, but they also understand that what gets us the win on weekends is what we do in practice during the week. Our practices last week were real good and real sharp, and I expect the same this week."

UMBC has beaten Binghamton, 12-6, and Albany, 12-7, and Zimmerman called the team’s performance against the Great Danes "the best" of the season. Senior attackman Matt Latham scored a career-high six goals, senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo caused six turnovers and collected five groundballs, and freshman Adam Cohen made nine saves.

"I think we came out strong, which has been the case in the last two games," Zimmerman said. "I think that has to do with focus and with energy. Guys are starting to play their best lacrosse together, and it’s that time of the year where you’re hoping your team is starting to hit on all cylinders, and it seems like we’re starting to get together. We have a long way to go, but we’re starting to play the way I feel this team can play."

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Q&A with ESPN's Matt Ward

Matt Ward is a former All-American attackman who helped Virginia capture NCAA championships in 2003 and 2006 and won the Tewaaraton Trophy in 2006 as the sport’s top player. In the first of a two-part interview, Ward, an analyst for ESPN, discusses – among other topics – No. 5 Maryland’s shelf life, No. 7 Loyola’s at-large resume and No. 20 Towson’s postseason chances.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Mount St. Mary's, Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

April 12, 2010

UMBC's Doub gets award

UMBC's Nick Doub was selected as the America East Rookie of the Week after his three-goal, one-assist performance in two games last week.

Promoted to the first midfield line, Doub scored the first goal of his career in a 10-7 loss to Towson on Wednesday night. Three nights later, the Annapolis native and St. Mary's graduate scored two goals and assisted on another in the Retrievers' 12-6 victory over Binghamton on Saturday night.

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April 8, 2010

Postscript from UMBC at Towson

Towson may not finish the season with a 40-goal scorer or a 70-point player, but that may suit the Tigers just fine.

Towson (3-5) has three players with seven or more goals each and four with at least 10 points, which speaks to the shared responsibility the players feel on offense.

Wednesday night’s 10-7 victory over UMBC was a good example of that cooperative effort as seven different players scored goals. This season, the Tigers are 3-1 when six or more players score goals, but 0-4 when less than five players score in a game.

“We’re a team offense,” said junior attackman Tim Stratton, who registered his second hat trick of the season against the Retrievers. “We don’t really have any go-to guys. On any given night, someone can put up a couple points. Everyone can score, and we’re a team that scores when we run our offense, not when we’re just giving it to one guy and watching. We’re successful when we’re running plays and guys are getting touches on the ball.”

That’s not to suggest that the team couldn’t use an unstoppable finisher or a primary distributor. But for Towson’s needs, a scoring-by-committee approach fits the personnel.

“Earlier in the year, I said my biggest problem was who was going to play out on the field for us in the midfield and attack because we’ve got so many people that are equal,” coach Tony Seaman said. “That’s good in some regards, but it’s horrible in other regards when you would love to have somebody who just stands up and scores goals for you. But it backs up what I said. We’ve got very good depth.”

Other notes:

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April 7, 2010

UMBC at Towson: Halftime thoughts

Towson is enjoying a 5-3 lead at halftime against visiting UMBC at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson courtesy of the team’s work on face-offs and extra-man chances. The Tigers -- who entered the contest winning just 45.3 percent of their face-offs -- won seven of 10 face-offs in the opening frame. That's part of the reason why the team has an overwhelming 23-14 advantage in shots. The offense scored off three of those face-off wins and almost got another, but an official ruled that junior attackman Tim Stratton had violated the crease when he beat Retrievers freshman goalkeeper Adam Cohen with 43 seconds left in the first quarter.

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UMBC making changes, too

Not to be outdone by Towson’s latest news, UMBC (1-6) is planning to start an entirely new defense and goalkeeper against the Tigers (2-5) Wednesday night at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson.

In are sophomores Tim Shaeffer and Aaron Verardi and freshman Lucas Wood. Of the three, only Verardi has played this season, scooping up one groundball and causing one turnover in six games.

Out are seniors Bobby Atwell, Matt Kresse and Lance Ophof. That trio has combined for 28 groundballs and 17 caused turnovers in 21 games, 19 of which were starts.

Also, the Retrievers are going back to freshman Adam Cohen in the net. Cohen, who started in two games and was the starter in the team’s lone win this season, has a better goals-against average (8.20) than senior Kevin Kohri (11.69), who has started three games including last Saturday’s 14-11 loss to then-No. 18 Stony Brook.

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Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

Towson to play Wednesday night without two starters

When Towson (2-5) takes the field at Johnny Unitas Stadium against UMBC (1-6) Wednesday night, the Tigers will play without two starters.

Junior midfielder Pat Britton and freshman defenseman Ben Strauss will sit out due to injuries. Britton, who has registered four goals and two assists in six starts, missed Towson’s 9-7 victory over Delaware last Saturday because of a concussion. Strauss, who ranks second on the team in caused turnovers (7) and has collected 13 groundballs in five starts, is out indefinitely with an undisclosed injury suffered during practice this week.

Senior Brock Armour (one goal and three assists) will take Britton’s place on the first midfield unit alongside seniors Christian Pastirik (15, 9) and Will Harrington (14, 2).

Senior Cameron Zook (10 groundballs) will move from his customary long-stick midfielder position to Strauss’ close defenseman role. Seniors Matt Vetter and David Edens will rotate at long-stick midfielder.

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Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

UMBC at Towson: Three things to watch

Just four days after opening play in their respective leagues, UMBC and Towson take a slight breather to add another installment to one of the longer series in their histories. I’ll be interested in seeing whether the Retrievers (1-6) or the Tigers (2-5) will exert its will at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson at 7:30 p.m. Here are a few developments that could factor into the outcome.

 

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Categories: Three things to watch, Towson, UMBC
        

April 2, 2010

Area teams involved in some significant games as well

While games involving No. 1 Virginia-No. 5 Maryland, No. 3 North Carolina-No. 12 Johns Hopkins, and No. 2 Salisbury-No. 1 Stevenson have garnered a significant amount of attention, there are several other significant contests involving area teams this weekend. Here’s a brief breakdown of those games according to the times of the games.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 5:15 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

UMBC ends goalie rotation

Saturday will mark the first time in two weeks that UMBC has played a game. It will also mark the day the Retrievers settled on one goalkeeper.

Senior Kevin Kohri will start against No. 19 Stony Brook (5-3) at UMBC Stadium, and barring an injury or complete ineffectiveness, he will remain there through the season, coach Don Zimmerman confirmed Thursday afternoon.

"You can’t make predictions, but I’m also not going to have all of our goalies looking over their shoulders, wondering if the next goal is going to have them coming off the field," Zimmerman said. "We decided to go with Kevin because he’s our senior, and he has been as solid as anybody in the goal. We just felt like for our goalies’ sake and for our team’s sake, we needed to make a decision on who our starter was going to be, and it’s going to be Kevin. But it’s like any other position. I’ll make a move if I need to, but I don’t intend or expect to make any moves during the game. We’re going to go with him."

Kohri has two starts under his belt: the season opener against Delaware and the team’s most recent game against No. 5 Maryland. He has made 20 saves and surrendered 24 goals in those starts. For now, Kohri has beaten out sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman and freshman Adam Cohen for the starting job.

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Categories: UMBC
        

March 29, 2010

UMBC's Wimer a candidate for Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award

UMBC senior midfielder Kyle Wimer is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe's Senior Class Award, a distinction that recognizes the complete student-athlete and encourages student-athletes to contribute to their communities.

Wimer joins a list that includes Gavin Buckley of St. John’s, Ken Clausen of Virginia, Pierce Derkac of Cornell, Jason Duboe of Harvard, Ridge Flick of Air Force, Andrew Maisano of Army, Thomas Muldoon of Brown, Max Quinzani of Duke and Scott Rodgers of Notre Dame.

Wimer leads the Retrievers in scoring with six goals and 16 points. He has at least one point in 25 consecutive games, which is tied for the sixth-longest streak in the nation. Wimer is tied for 20th in school history in scoring with 113 career points (58 goals, 55 assists).

Fans can vote on the award’s official Web site, http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Text LAX to 74567 to vote for the finalists. These votes will be
combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award, which will be announced late May at the NCAA Tournament in Baltimore.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

March 19, 2010

UMBC's Camardo comfortable away from the spotlight

Friday’s edition of The Sun included a brief notebook item on UMBC senior long-stick midfielder Michael Camardo, who leads Division I with 3.4 caused turnovers per game and is on pace to shatter the team record of 32 that he set last spring.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Camardo was actually an offensive midfielder at Guilderland High School, but had also dabbled with the long pole. Midway through his freshman year with the Retrievers, Dan Carmack was injured, and Camardo slid in as the team’s starting long-stick midfielder for the next three seasons.

"It’s definitely not a position you pick if you’re going for the glory," Camardo said. "But it’s an important position because you have to guard their best midfielder. So I don’t think it’s overlooked or ignored."

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said he has been impressed with Camardo’s knack for pouncing on the right opportunity to attack an opponent’s ball handler.

"He’s a pretty disciplined checker," Zimmerman said. "He doesn’t pull a lot of unnecessary checks. He is just patient and waits for the right opportunity at the right time and is effective in that regard. We don’t ask our defensemen to throw a lot of checks, and he certainly follows that principle. I’ve always believed that one timely check is far better than numerous ill-advised checks. So he’s a disciplined player, and I think that also adds to his effectiveness of being able to wait for the right opportunity and throw a good check."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:00 PM | | Comments (0)
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March 18, 2010

UMBC going back to original goalie

Earlier Friday, Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala acknowledged that he had yet to make a decision regarding the No. 8 Blue Jays' starting goalkeeper against No. 2 Syracuse Saturday night.

There is no such uncertainty with UMBC as coach Don Zimmerman announced that senior Kevin Kohri will start Saturday at noon against No. 5 Maryland at UMBC Stadium.

"We’re going back to our senior," Zimmerman said. "Just feel like all of our goalies are in the same place. They all have their strengths, and they all have their weaknesses. But we just feel like Kevin has proven himself in the past to be a good stopper. And he’s our senior, and he’s paid his dues."

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March 11, 2010

UMBC's McCullough to make second straight start

Much like his predecessor, Brian McCullough will get another chance to cement his status as UMBC’s starting goalie.

The sophomore, who started in the No. 19 Retrievers’ 16-10 loss to No. 7 Johns Hopkins Tuesday night, will start in the net Saturday when UMBC (1-3) travels to New Jersey to tangle with No. 5 Princeton, coach Don Zimmerman confirmed Thursday morning.

"We’re going to go with Brian McCullough again," Zimmerman said. "I think he gave us a good solid game, and we want to give him another opportunity."

McCullough, who finished with eight saves in his first career start, gets the unenviable task of trying to stop a Tigers squad that has scored 28 goals in wins against then-No. 8 Hofstra and then-No. 5 Johns Hopkins.

Blue Jays coach Dave Pietramala compared Princeton’s offense to a box lacrosse-style hybrid that emphasizes two-man games and off-ball movement. That strategy would seem to be a lot for a goaltender, who played just 3 minutes, 44 seconds as a backup to Jeremy Blevins last season, but Zimmerman said McCullough is ready.

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March 10, 2010

Postscript from UMBC at Johns Hopkins

No. 7 Johns Hopkins got a combined nine goals and eight assists from attackmen Steven Boyle and Kyle Wharton and midfielder Michael Kimmel in a 16-10 shellacking of No. 19 UMBC Tuesday night at Homewood Field.

But nearly as significant were the contributions the Blue Jays got from their other midfielders.

Freshman Zach Palmer contributed three goals and two assists, and senior Max Chautin and freshman John Ranagan each scored once. The seven points from midfielders without the last name of Kimmel tie a season-high set in the season-opening 14-3 victory over Manhattan.

Coach Dave Pietramala said the offense needs that kind of production from its midfielders.

"It’s not going to be one guy that does it," Pietramala said. "It needs to be all of them that get one. And tonight, we got three from Palmer and one from Ranagan and one from Chautin. That’s a big deal to alleviate the pressure on Michael."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, UMBC
        

March 9, 2010

UMBC vs. Johns Hopkins: Halftime thoughts

No. 7 Johns Hopkins leads No. 19 UMBC, 8-6, at halftime at Homewood Field, and the advantage could have been much bigger for the host Blue Jays if they hadn’t been flagged for four penalties in the first quarter.

Senior attackman Steven Boyle, senior long-stick midfielder Greg Harrington, snioe short-stick defensive midfielder Dave Spaulding and senior defenseman Matt Drenan each committed slashing penalties, and the Retrievers converted on three of those four extra-man opportunities.

A few of the penalties seemed iffy, and Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala gave the officials quite an earful for much of the period, but the Blue Jays just need to turn down the volume on the aggression button and stay disciplined.

Other notes:

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, Johns Hopkins, UMBC
        

UMBC at Johns Hopkins: Three things to watch

We’re going to alter the content of this series a little bit – just in time for No. 19 UMBC’s visit to Homewood Field to take on No. 7 Johns Hopkins on Tuesday night. Here are a few things I will be watching.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch, UMBC
        

March 6, 2010

UMBC, Towson and Navy also involved in significant games

While much of the lacrosse world will be focused on the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic tripleheader at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, there are at least three other significant games involving local teams this weekend. Here’s a brief breakdown of those contests in chronological order:

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Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Navy, Towson, UMBC
        

One uneducated analysis of Tewaaraton Trophy watch list

The Tewaaraton Trophy watch list was released yesterday, and 17 of the names belong to players who currently play for Maryland-based programs or hail from the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Johns Hopkins leads the way locally with three nominees in senior attackman Steven Boyle, senior defenseman Matt Drenan and senior midfielder Michael Kimmel.

Maryland and Navy have two each. The Terps are represented by junior long-stick midfielder Brian Farrell and junior attackman Tim Paul, while the Midshipmen include senior attackman Tim Paul and sophomore defenseman Matt Vernam.

Loyola has a nominee in senior attackman Collin Finnerty, while UMBC has senior attackman Kyle Wimer.

In addition, Stevenson is represented by senior attackman Steve Kazimer and junior attackman Jimmy Dailey.

Players with ties to the Baltimore area include Virginia senior midfielder Brian Carroll (Towson/Gilman), Georgetown senior defenseman Barney Ehrmann (Baltimore/Gilman), junior attackman Andrew Feinberg (Owings Mills/McDonogh), Princeton sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Fiorito (Phoenix/McDonogh), Notre Dame senior midfielder Grant Krebs (Annapolis/St. Mary's) and Virginia sophomore attackman Steele Stanwick (Baltimore/Loyola).

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Posted by Edward Lee at 6:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, Stevenson, UMBC
        

March 1, 2010

UMBC's Cohen plays well, earns second straight start

The No. 19 Retrievers got their first win of the season, edging Rutgers, 6-5, on Sunday. It was also notable that goalkeeper Adam Cohen earned his first career victory.

The freshman made six saves, including one in the final minute of the game. The Arnold native and Severn graduate impressed coach Don Zimmerman.

"I thought Adam did well," Zimmerman said. "He made some nice saves, and I thought he cleared well – although he gave up one on a bad clearing pass. But that’s going to happen. For a freshman to get in there and get a win, I thought that was real important for him and for the team."

Zimmerman has already decided that Cohen will start Saturday when No. 3 North Carolina (4-0) visits UMBC Stadium.

"We’re going to come back with Adam Cohen," Zimmerman said. "He started in the goal for us and got the win. I thought he did a good job. As I clarified, we’re into a one-goalie system, and right now, Adam Cohen’s our starter."

Other notes:

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Categories: UMBC
        

February 25, 2010

Coach clarifies UMBC's goalie situation

UMBC coach Don Zimmerman called to clarify his previous comments about the team's goalie situation.

Rather than saying that freshman Adam Cohen would start for the remainder of the season, Zimmerman said he was abandoning rotating the goalkeepers for their respective halves. That's what happened in the No. 19 Retrievers' 11-10 triple-overtime loss to No. 18 Delaware last Saturday as senior Kevin Kohri started the first half and Cohen finished the rest of the game.

Zimmerman reiterated that Cohen will start on Saturday against Rutgers, but Kohri and sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman are very much in the mix for possibly starting in future contests.

"We're not going to do halves," Zimmerman said. "We're going to go with a one-goalie system for each game, and right now, Adam Cohen is our starter."

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:30 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

February 24, 2010

UMBC's Cohen named starter for rest of season

In No. 19 UMBC's season opener against No. 18 Delaware Saturday, the Retrievers started senior Kevin Kohri in the net with freshman Adam Cohen playing after halftime in an eventual 11-10 triple overtime loss.

After the game, UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said the team would continue to rotate its goalies for an indefinite period of time.

That time has ended. At a media event in which four Baltimore-area Division I coaches previewed their teams and answered fans' queries during a question-and-answer session at the ESPNZone in the Inner Harbor, Zimmerman announced that Cohen would start for the remainder of the season.

"We’re going to go with Adam Cohen," Zimmerman said. "He’s going to be our starting goalkeeper. I talked to both goalkeepers yesterday, and I just feel that Adam gives us a little bit more outside-the-pipes than Kevin. Kevin’s always been a good stopper for us. His clearing game would probably be considered his weaker point. Adam, I think, has been steady in the goal, but outside the goal, he’s very proficient. And I just sensed that when Adam jumped into the goal for the second half, they [the defense] just felt a little extra spark. It’s a tough situation. Kevin Kohri’s a great kid, and he’s been a terrific team player for us. He’s always been there when we needed him, and that’s why he got the start against Delaware. He did a good job, made some big saves and let just a couple in. But we’ve got to go with what we feel is best for the team, and we feel this is the move we need to make."

Cohen, an Arnold native and Severn graduate, made zero saves and surrendered five goals -- although the eventual game-winning goal by Blue Hens attackman Curtis Dickson wasn't Cohen's fault as it deflected off a UMBC defender's stick and trickled into the net. Meanwhile, Kohri, a Sykesville native and Century graduate, made five stops.

Zimmerman said he would no qualms about inserting Kohri if Cohen struggles.

"As I told Kevin, he [Cohen] is a freshman, things can happen, and you have to stay ready," Zimmerman said. "And he’s proven himself as a more-than-capable backup goalkeeper. So I know now that yeah, we’re going with a freshman, but we’ve got a capable kid ready to fulfill a role that he’s fulfilled for three years."

Other UMBC notes:

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February 21, 2010

Postscript from Delaware at UMBC

Don Zimmerman knew the day would come when he would no longer be able to lean on goalie Jeremy Blevins, the Calvert Hall graduate who started all four years in the net for the Retrievers. That's part of the reason why four goalkeepers dot the roster this spring.

And so the UMBC coach decided to give senior Kevin Kohri his first career start Saturday against No. 20 Delaware. But at halftime, freshman Adam Cohen took over as the No. 17 Retrievers fell, 11-10, in triple overtime.

Afterwards, Zimmerman acknowledged that rotating goalies was somewhat unusual for him.

"I think the last time I talked to you, I said I would never do that," he said. "But it’s a pretty interesting situation. Number one, we lost a week outside because of the snow, and your goalies really don’t have a chance to go out and prove themselves. So we just kept watching and seeing what was going on, and I think it came down to this: we have confidence in all of our goalkeepers. And we felt like Kevin Kohri, for three years, has been a backup but probably one of the consummate team players, supporting all the guys out on the field from the bench. I just believed that he deserved that shot, and I think Kevin did a good job. They came at us hard, he made some good saves and let a couple in, but I think he did a good job. But I also think it was good for the freshman to watch and see what was going on, see the speed and see what kind of team Delaware was, and not have the pressure on him. Will we continue to do that? I don’t know. But I just thought that for this situation, we made the right choice. It was something that we thought about, thought about, thought about, and discussed. We made the decision yesterday. Looking back, I think it was the right decision."

Kohri, a Century graduate, made several sparkling saves in the first quarter and finished with five stops. Cohen, a Severn product, didn't have to make a save. So does that mean that Kohri has earned the right to play all four quarters when UMBC visits Rutgers next Saturday?

"No predictions," Zimmerman said. "I’m not predicting the future right now."

Other notes:

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Categories: Postscript, UMBC
        

February 20, 2010

Delaware at UMBC: Halftime thoughts

The first half has been a tale of differing offenses for the No. 17 Retrievers and the No. 20 Blue Hens, who lead 6-4.

For the first quarter and a good portion of the second, UMBC (0-0) ran its offense through senior midfielder Kyle Wimer, who responded with two goals and one assist. Aside from Wimer, however, the offense has struggled to find a rhythm. Senior midfielder Maxx Davis (Friends) has carried the ball and tried to use his speed to find his teammates, but no one is getting open. Senior attackman Jamie Kimbles and Matt Latham (Liberty) each have a goal, but the Retrievers are going to need more production from their attack.

Similarly, Delaware (1-0) has keyed its offense on senior attackman Curtis Dickson, whose five goals already match the five goals he scored in last year's 14-9 loss to UMBC. Dickson has beaten senior defenseman Matt Kresse often. Fellow attackmen Pat Lombard and Grant Kaleikau each have an assist.

*In his first start of the season, senior Kevin Kohri has been sensational for the Retrievers. He guided a Dickson blast to the side and then took a shot off the mask from junior midfielder Kevin Kaminski. If not for Kohri (five saves), UMBC might have been in a deeper hole than it currently is in.

*Face-offs continue to be a sore spot for the No. 17 Retrievers, who have won just three of 12 attempts. Junior J.D. Harkey and freshman Neill Lewnes (St. Mary's) have tried to beat, tie up, and wrestle Tommy Lee, but the Blue Hens senior who ranked third in Division I in face-off percentage (.598) has been sensational.

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Categories: Halftime thoughts, UMBC
        

Kohri gets start for UMBC

The four-player competition for the Retrievers starting goalkeeper position has ended with senior Kevin Kohri getting the nod for Saturday's season opener against No. 20 Delaware.

Kohri, a Century graduate, beat out sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman (Gilman) and freshman Adam Cohen (Severn) for the right to succeed Jeremy Blevins, who started all four years for UMBC in the net.

The No. 17 Retrievers' starting lineup features somewhat of a surprise as senior midfielder Kyle Wimer begins at the attack. He will team up with seniors Chris Jones and Matt Latham (Liberty). The midfield includes juniors Jamie Kimbles and Bobby Stockton and sophomore Rob Grimm, while the defense is manned by seniors Matt Kresse, Lance Ophof and Brian Schneider.

The Blue Hens will start seniors Curtis Dickson and Pat Lombard and sophomore Grant Kaleikau on attack, senior Tommy Lee, junior Kevin Kaminski and sophomore Taylor Burns (Severn) in the midfield, and juniors Pat Dowling, Tim Langmaid and Matt Stefurak on defense. Junior Noah Fossner will start in the goal. 

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:46 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Delaware at UMBC: Three things to watch

The Retrievers opened 2009 with a 14-9 victory over the Blue Hens, but Delaware had won 10 of the previous 13 meetings. Here are a few developments that could determine the outcome of Saturday's game at UMBC Stadium at 1 p.m.

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February 18, 2010

UMBC waiting on goalie decision

Just two days away from opening the season at home against No. 20 Delaware, the No. 17 Retrievers are still reviewing the play of four players trying to become the starting goalkeeper.

Senior Kevin Kohri (Century), sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman (Gilman) and freshman Adam Cohen (Severn) are competing for the right to succeed four-year starter Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall), and the team is willing to wait until Saturday before making a decision.

"It’s going to be an 11th-hour situation," coach Don Zimmerman said Thursday afternoon. "What really hurt us was the fact that we were indoors for a week. We just want to give these kids every opportunity to compete and show the coaches what they can do."

Zimmerman declined to handicap the competition, saying, "It’s definitely close. All four are still battling it out."

Posted by Edward Lee at 4:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Fast starts are key for UMBC, Loyola on Saturday

Both UMBC and Loyola open their 2010 Division I lacrosse seasons Saturday, and the key for both local teams will be the first quarter. Loyola is at Navy and UMBC hosts Delaware, and both Navy and Delaware dominated in their season openers nearly a week ago.


Delaware beat up on Saint Joseph’s, 15-5, and Navy beat VMI, 16-5. Both UMBC and Loyola have to play well in the first quarter because they aren’t used to playing at game speed yet. Teams can practice as much as possible, but until they play in a game, they’re still at practice speed. Loyola coach Charley Toomey has already warned his team because that’s how Loyola jumped on Towson in the Tigers season opener a year ago.


It will be interesting seasons for both UMBC and Loyola. The Greyhounds should have a strong team and make the playoffs this season. The Retrievers are rebuilding with 17 freshmen on the roster. UMBC should struggle early, but hit its stride late in the season.

An earlier version of this entry incorrectly identified Delaware's first opponent. Delaware defeated Saint Joseph's. The Baltimore Sun regrets the error.

Posted by Mike Preston at 3:02 PM | | Comments (0)
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February 17, 2010

UMBC shares top honors with Stony Brook in America East

UMBC and Stony Brook were selected as co-favorites to capture the America East Conference championship, the league announced Tuesday.

The Retrievers, who are ranked No. 17 by The Sun, have won three of the last conference tournaments and garnered three first-place votes and 22 points. The No. 12 Seawolves, who shared the regular-season crown with UMBC last spring, finished with two first-place votes and 22 points.

No. 19 Albany was voted third with 19 points.

Continue reading "UMBC shares top honors with Stony Brook in America East" »

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February 13, 2010

Three locals nominated for national award

Michael Kimmel of Johns Hopkins, Brian Phipps of Maryland and Kyle Wimer of UMBC are among 20 candidates nominated for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

"The lacrosse candidates represent a diverse cross-section of universities and a wide array of academic courses of study," said Tom Lamb, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing. "But the common denominator is a passion for their sport and for finishing their careers as students and athletes at the top."

An acronym for Celebrating Loyolaty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award honors student-athletes who have made notable accomplishments in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

The 20 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of classroom, character, community and competition.

The previous three winners of the award include Cornell goalie Matt McMonagle in 2007, Syracuse attackman Mike Leveille in 2008 and Cornell midfielder Max Seibald in 2009.

Posted by Edward Lee at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC
        

February 12, 2010

Mea culpa to UMBC

Today's lacrosse preview contained an outdated capsule on UMBC, using information from the 2009 preview. I wish to extend my apologies to Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman, the rest of the coaching staff, the players and their fans for not including updated information. (Thanks to B. Kevin Gibbons-O'Neill, assistant athletic director in charge of fundraising and development, for notifying me of the egregious mistake.) Here is the updated capsule:

UMBC

America East Conference

(12-4, NCAA first round)

Coach: Don Zimmerman

17th season, 125-98; 24th season overall, 198-114

TOP RETURNING SCORER

KYLE WIMER, senior M (24, 18)

ALSO BACK

Matt Latham, senior A (27, 5)

Chris Jones, senior A (21, 10)

Matt Kresse, senior D

Bobby Atwell, senior D

KEY ADDITIONS

Scott Jones, freshman A

Matt Gregoire, freshman A

Scott Hopmann, freshman M

THE BALTIMORE SUN’S TAKE

A year removed from finishing sixth in the nation in scoring, the Retrievers must replace the 84 goals and 39 assists lost when midfielders Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and attackman Ryan Smith graduated. Wimer will look to lead the offense and will get help from Latham and Jones. The defense welcomes back Atwell, who tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee before the season began. The goalie position comes down to senior Kevin Kohri, sophomores Brian McCullough and Matt Holman and freshman Adam Cohen. 

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February 7, 2010

UMBC preview

Today's entry is the third of a week-long series taking a look at each of the seven Division I programs in this state. While the previous two previews of Mount St. Mary's and Towson were based on order of finish last season, we've had to change it up due to difficulties getting in touch with other coaches. So tune in Monday for a preview of a team to be determined, and The Sun's lacrosse preview is slated to be published on Friday, Feb. 12. Today is UMBC's turn.

Overview: The Retrievers advanced to their fourth straight NCAA Tournament and captured their third America East title in the last four years. Despite deficiencies at the face-off position, UMBC rode the talent of its first midfield line and nearly upended North Carolina in the first round. The team has re-loaded, but conference rivals Stony Brook and Albany have also improved and are poised to end the Retrievers’ dominance.

Reason for optimism: After leaning on the midfield to power the offense, it’s the attack unit that brings the most promise this season. Seniors Matt Latham, a Liberty graduate, registered 27 goals and five assists, and senior Chris Jones posted 21 goals and 10 assists as a starter. Junior Rob Grimm chipped in with 10 goals and 17 assists, and coach Don Zimmerman is encouraged by the progress of freshmen Scott Jones and Matt Gregoire (South River). "We’ve got good numbers," Zimmerman said. "We feel it’s a combination of guys with experience and younger guys who can come in, step in, learn and not be thrown into the fire."

Continue reading "UMBC preview" »

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June 10, 2009

UMBC visiting the Far East

The Retrievers will take their game overseas as participants in the International Friendship Games as part of an 11-day tour to Tokyo and Nagoya, Japan. The players and coaches from this past season’s team will leave Baltimore on Thursday and join in commemorating the 20th anniversary of this event.

"We have a great relationship with the Japan Lacrosse Association [JLA]," coach Don Zimmerman told the school’s website. "This past fall, they sent a team over here and after the game, we had a tailgate for them. One of the principle ideas of the JLA is ‘Lacrosse Makes Friends.’ We understand that and give them the opportunity not only to play, but to socialize. As a result, they are always excited for UMBC to come over and participate in this event."

The Retrievers will compete against the Under-20 Toyko squad and the Japan National
squad on Saturday before facing the Under-22 Japan National Squad in Edogawa Stadium in an International Friendship Game on Sunday. The team will play against two collegiate teams on Tuesday before heading to Nagoya the following day.

The squad is scheduled to tour the Nagoya Castle and the Toyota Motor Corporation on Thursday, June 18 and will take part in a clinic the next day. UMBC will then compete in the second International Friendship game against the Nagoya Regional squad on Saturday, June 20 before returning to Baltimore on Sunday.

Fans can follow the team by logging onto www.umbcretrievers.com and going to "The Dawg Blog." Several players will be submitting entries during the trip.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:38 PM | | Comments (0)
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June 8, 2009

Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part I

Here is one observer’s attempt to take a crack at a preseason and premature poll for the 2010 season. I will break up the top 20 into four installments with today’s entry looking at teams ranked from Nos. 20 to 16. Tuesday will feature Nos. 15 to 11, Wednesday Nos. 10 to 6 and Thursday Nos. 5 to 1.

Unless there are confirmed reports about certain players planning to use fifth years of eligibility, this space will assume that seniors in 2009 will not be back next season. Unannounced fifth-year seniors and potential transfers will affect the rankings that come out next February, but let’s take a spin.

Continue reading "Review & preview: Premature 2010 poll Part I" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

June 1, 2009

UMBC's Atwell expected to return for 2010 season

While talking to Don Zimmerman for today’s Review & Preview, the Retrievers coach said senior defenseman Bobby Atwell’s torn anterior cruciate ligament is healing according to schedule.

Atwell’s doctors have prohibited him from playing any lacrosse, but he is rehabilitating.

"All indications are that his knee is going to be where it needs to be," Zimmerman said. "I know it was a tough year for Bobby, but I think that’s going to help him be even more ready to come back and resume his role on this team."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Review & preview: UMBC

Here’s the fourth installment of a new series that checks in with the seven Division I programs in the state to give a glimpse into the past and the future. Today, we take a visit with UMBC.

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Categories: Review & preview, UMBC
        

May 28, 2009

Maryland well-represented in MLL Draft

The Major Lacrosse League held its annual college draft Wednesday night, and fair number of players with connections to the Baltimore area were selected. The first player from Baltimore to be drafted was North Carolina face-off specialist and Boys’ Latin graduate Shane Walterhoefer, who was taken by the Denver Outlaws with the seventh overall pick in the first round.

In the second round, the Washington Bayhawks selected Loyola long-stick midfielder P.T. Ricci with the 11th overall pick and Denver drafted Johns Hopkins midfielder Brian Christopher at No. 14.

In the third round, Notre Dame attackman and Dulaney graduate Ryan Hoff went to the Chicago Machine at No. 17, Johns Hopkins defenseman Michael Evans to Washington at No. 18, and UMBC midfielder Peet Poillon to the Boston Cannons at No. 20. The Outlaws took Loyola attackman Shane Koppens at No. 21 before the Bayhawks selected Maryland midfielders Jeff Reynolds and Dan Groot at Nos. 23 and 26, respectively.

In the fourth round, North Carolina midfielder and Severna Park graduate Ben Hunt went to Washington at No. 28 and Denver drafted UMBC midfielder Alex Hopmann and UMBC goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins at Nos. 35 and 36, respectively.

In the fifth and final round, the Bayhawks took Salisbury midfielder Kylor Berkman with the 38th overall pick, and the Outlaws selected Cornell midfielder and Boys’ Latin graduate Rocco Romero at No. 41.

Syracuse, which became the first school to win back-to-back national championships since Princeton won three straight between 1996 and 1998, had the most players drafted with midfielders Dan Hardy and Matt Abbott, attackman Kenny Nims and defenseman Sid Smith taken in the first round. Nims was the first overall pick by Chicago.

UMBC, Cornell and Virginia were next with three players each.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Salisbury, UMBC
        

May 21, 2009

Division I All-American teams announced

The All-American teams for Division I have been released and the area’s lone representative on the first team is Johns Hopkins senior defenseman Michael Evans. Evans is joined by fellow defensemen Ken Clausen of Virginia (his second selection) and Matt Moyer of Cornell.

Cornell midfielder Max Seibald makes his third consecutive appearance on the first team, joining a group that includes Matt Abbott of Syracuse, Shamel Bratton of Virginia and Mark Kovler of Princeton.

The attackmen are Billy Bitter of North Carolina, Brandon Corp of Colgate, Ned Crotty of Duke, Danny Glading of Virginia and Kenny Nims of Syracuse. The goalie is Jordan Burke of Brown.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 12:01 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

May 13, 2009

ESPN's Mark Dixon chimes in on NCAA tournament

While helping me on a couple of features to advance the Maryland-Syracuse and Johns Hopkins-Virginia matchups in the NCAA tournament quarterfinals, ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon was generous enough to review the first-round games and look ahead to this weekend.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 3:25 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

May 12, 2009

CBS College Sports' Paul Carcaterra's thoughts on the first round

Got on the phone yesterday with CBS College Sports analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra, who offered his assessment of the NCAA tournament first round and a quick peek at the quarterfinals this weekend.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 10:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC
        

May 8, 2009

UMBC at North Carolina: Three things to watch

The Retrievers are just 1-4 in the first round of the NCAA tournament, while the Tar Heels have lost five of their last seven tournament openers. Here are three things that could help UMBC get past North Carolina on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and collect its second first-round win in three years.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch, UMBC
        

May 7, 2009

ESPN's Matt Ward on the NCAA tournament field

Check in Friday for "Three things to watch" on all four games involving area teams. Until then, here’s a Q&A with ESPN analyst and 2006 Tewaaraton Trophy winner Matt Ward on the omission of Loyola, easiest and toughest paths to the Final Four and possible first-round upsets.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 12:03 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

CBS College Sports' Paul Carcaterra evaluates the NCAA tournament field

CBS College Sports analyst and former Syracuse All-American midfielder Paul Carcaterra helped me out with a feature in Thursday’s paper on Navy junior attackman Tim Paul, who is expected to play in the Midshipmen’s first-round NCAA tournament game against No. 3 seed Duke despite a sprained left ankle. He also took the time to discuss Loyola’s absence, easiest and toughest paths to the Final Four and possible first-round upsets.

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

May 6, 2009

First-round matchups involve reunion theme

There’s a general theme in the first-round pairings involving the area teams, and it involves reunions.

When UMBC visits No. 6 seed North Carolina Saturday, Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman returns to the program for which he served as an assistant coach between 1979-83. Zimmerman was thought to be the leading candidate for the head coaching vacancy created when the Tar Heels fired coach John Haus last May, but he removed his name from consideration and signed a six-year extension to stay at UMBC.

In addition to Zimmerman, senior midfielder Peet Poillon reunites with Joe Breschi, the new North Carolina coach who mentored Poillon when the pair competed for Ohio State. When Breschi was hired away by the Tar Heels, Poillon requested a transfer and landed with the Retrievers.

"Peet’s been with us for a year, and he’s had a great year for us," Zimmerman said of Poillon, who leads the team in assists (19) and points (44). "Whenever you go back and compete against a former coach of yours, I’m sure it’s a little special."

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Posted by Edward Lee at 4:31 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

ESPN's Quint Kessenich reviews the NCAA tournament field

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins All-American goalkeeper Quint Kessenich has become the face and voice most associated with lacrosse games on television. While helping me on an article about Johns Hopkins’ midfield duo of Michael Kimmel and Brian Christopher, Kessenich answered my questions about Loyola’s omission from the NCAA tournament, a dark-horse candidate for the final four and possible first-round upsets.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 2:04 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

May 5, 2009

ESPN's Dixon on NCAA tournament field

ESPN analyst and former Johns Hopkins midfielder Mark Dixon was kind enough to talk to me about some topics I am working on, and the conversation naturally turned to the NCAA tournament’s 16-team field. The following is a Q&A with Dixon that touches on Loyola’s absence, the easiest and toughest paths to the final four and possible first-round upsets.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 4:23 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

April 30, 2009

Postscript from Binghamton at UMBC

Senior attackman Ryan Smith’s game-winning goal 55 seconds into double overtime overshadowed a troubling performance by a Retrievers offense that had been ranked fifth in the nation in scoring prior to Wednesday night’s 9-8 squeaker against Binghamton in an America East tournament semifinal.

UMBC took 46 shots, landing just 22 on net. Bearcats senior goalkeeper Larry Kline made 13 saves, and Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman said he thought the players began to press and take some low-percentage shots.

"I think we forced the ball a lot on offense tonight," he said. "I think guys tried to do too much. ... The key was, guys stepped up not in a heroic fashion, but in a team fashion and played to their roles."

While UMBC fans might have been heartened to see the starting attack of juniors Chris Jones and Matt Latham and Smith combine for six goals and one assist, the starting midfield of seniors Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann and junior Kyle Wimer fizzled.

A trio that had combined for 76 goals and 36 assists prior to the semifinal compiled just one goal and three assists.

"I think our midfield kind of got away from the game plan," Zimmerman said. "I call that the ‘50 midfield,’ and that 50 is on their lockers because you add the [jersey] numbers of nine for Hopmann, 20 for Wimer and 21 for Poillon, and that adds up to 50. And they didn’t play like the ‘50 midfield’ tonight. They played like No. 9, No. 20 and No. 21. So we’ve got to get back to being the ‘50 midfield.’"

Continue reading "Postscript from Binghamton at UMBC" »

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, UMBC
        

April 29, 2009

Binghamton at UMBC: Three things to watch

The No. 11 Retrievers have won or shared the America East regular-season title in each of the past five years. If UMBC (10-3) hopes to reach its fourth consecutive tournament final, here are a few objectives the team should aim for.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 11:31 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Three things to watch, UMBC
        

April 28, 2009

UMBC sweeps America East Conference honors

Coaches in the America East Conference voted Jeremy Blevins as the Player of the Year, and Don Zimmerman was named the Coach of the Year for the second straight year and for the third time in four seasons.

Blevins, who is the third Retriever to win Player of the Year honors (attackman Brendan Mundorf won in 2005 and 2006, and midfielder Terry Kimener was selected last year), is eighth in the nation with a 7.58 goals-against average and he leads all active goalies with 42 wins. Blevins, who is one of 21 players still vying for the Tewaaraton Trophy, is fourth on the school’s all-time saves list with 601.

Under Zimmerman, UMBC has captured or claimed a share of the America East regular-season crown in each of the last five seasons. The program’s 43 victories over the last four years ranks as the most in its history, exceeding the 42 wins between 1974-77. Zimmerman boasts a career record of 196-113 (.634) in 23 seasons, and he is 123-97 (.559) in his 16th year with the Retrievers.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 4:22 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

Weekly awards for Loyola, UMBC, Salisbury

Two Loyola players earned weekly awards from the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

Loyola junior attackman Collin Finnerty shared Offensive Player of the Week honors with Penn State sophomore midfielder Chris Hogan. Finnerty matched a career high with four goals – all in the first quarter – in the No. 18 Greyhounds’ 16-7 win against Hobart.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jake Hagelin made eight saves and surrendered just five goals to the Statesmen. The reigning ECAC Rookie of the Year split the Defensive Player of the Week award with Georgetown senior defenseman Steve Bauer.

UMBC’s Ryan Smith was named by the America East as the league’s Player of the Week. The senior attackman posted seven points on four goals and three assists in the No. 11 Retrievers’ 18-5 victory over Vermont to help the school clinch a share of the regular-season championship for the fifth consecutive season.

In Division III news, Salisbury senior midfielder Kylor Berkman collected Capital Athletic Conference’s Player of the Week honors for registering four goals and one assist in the No. 5 Sea Gulls’ 12-11 victory over Washington. Berkman was recently named the conference’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Posted by Edward Lee at 2:41 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, Salisbury, UMBC
        

April 27, 2009

Paul Carcaterra's take on the NCAA tournament field

During halftime of the Syracuse-Massachusetts contest Saturday, former Syracuse All-America midfielder and current CBS college sports analyst Paul Carcaterra offered his take on the projected 16-team field for the NCAA tournament.

That field underwent some changes Monday after Navy beat Bucknell for the Patriot League tournament crown and automatic qualifier. During an extensive conversation that I have broken up into two posts, Carcaterra thinks Bucknell is out and a local school is the most immediate beneficiary.

"I think that opens the door for Maryland as that last at-large bid," Carcaterra said. "I don’t think there are too many of those other bubble teams. I don’t think you can say with a straight face that Georgetown has a shot because Loyola beat them head to head. There aren’t too many others that are on the fence."

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Posted by Edward Lee at 2:54 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Loyola, Maryland, Navy, UMBC
        

April 15, 2009

Tewaaraton Trophy finalists announced

The Tewaaraton Foundation, which awards the Tewaaraton Trophy to the country’s best lacrosse player, has announced the finalists, and only two with Baltimore-area connections are among the pool of 21.

UMBC’s Jeremy Blevins is one of four goalkeepers, joining Brown’s Jordan Burke, Massachusetts’ Doc Schneider and Notre Dame’s Scott Rodgers. Loyola’s Shane Koppens is one of 10 attackmen, joining Virginia’s Garrett Billings and Danny Glading, Bryant’s Zack Greer, Colgate’s Brandon Corp, Duke’s Ned Crotty, Hofstra’s Jay Card, North Carolina’s Billy Bitter, Princeton’s Jack McBride and Syracuse’s Kenny Nims.

The midfielders are Cornell’s John Glynn and Max Seibald, Syracuse’s Matt Abbott and Dan Hardy, Princeton’s Mark Kovler and Virginia’s Shamel Bratton. The only defenseman on the list is Virginia’s Mike Timms.

In other news, UMBC swept America East honors as Peet Poillon and Justin Radebaugh were named the league’s Player and Rookie of the Week, respectively. Poillon scored four goals in the No. 7 Retrievers’ 15-7 win against No. 17 Albany on Saturday. The four goals tied a career and season high, which the senior midfielder has notched three times this year. Radebaugh, a freshman faceoff specialist, recorded season highs with 16 faceoff wins (out of 24) and 10 groundballs. He also posted his first career point, an assist.

Navy’s Tommy Phelan earned Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week accolades for the second consecutive week after making 16 saves in the No. 11 Midshipmen’s 8-4 victory over Army. The senior produced his third straight game of at least 15 saves.

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:37 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Loyola, Navy, UMBC
        

Two cents from Paul Carcaterra of CBS College Sports

Talked on Tuesday to Paul Carcaterra, a former two-time All-America midfielder at Syracuse and a current lacrosse analyst for CBS College Sports, and when pressed to pick the teams most likely to make it to the Final Four on May 23, he mentioned only Virginia and Syracuse by name.

But Carcaterra was effusive in his praise of three schools that would not surprise him if they were to book flights to Foxborough, Mass.: Johns Hopkins, UMBC and Duke.

On Johns Hopkins: "They’ve seen everything, and they’ve played down to the wire with some of the best teams in the country. So I look at their four losses and if I’m a Hopkins fan, that doesn’t worry me too much because they have the quality wins to get into the tournament, and I think if they get into the tournament, they’re going to be an extremely dangerous team."

On UMBC: "I think UMBC is a deadly team. I think Coach Zimmerman is probably the most underrated coach in the country. … Nationally, how many people really talk about UMBC? They’re usually like, ‘Oh, they’re having a good year. You’ve got to watch them.’ I think UMBC is that team flying under the radar."

On Duke: "Duke is a team that’s pretty interesting. Here’s a team that lost all of those big guns and fifth-year seniors, and the younger guys are really starting to emerge. They have a nice balance of experience and youth. Ned Crotty is probably the best feeding attackman in the country right now, and you’re putting young guys around him like Justin Turri, who I think is a phenomenal young talent. I think teams kind of put them as an afterthought after the [Zack] Greer and [Matt] Danowski and [Nick] O’Hara and [Tony] McDevitt show ended. They’ve got some talent there."

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Categories: Johns Hopkins, Maryland, UMBC
        

April 8, 2009

Pivotal weekend matchups

A lot of attention has been devoted to Saturday’s Smartlink Days of Rivals, which features Army against No. 12 Navy at 11:30 a.m. and No. 11 Johns Hopkins against No. 15 Maryland at about 2 p.m.

But there are some critical games involving other local teams Saturday.

* Since UMBC joined the America East conference in 2004, the Retrievers and Albany have split the league titles with UMBC winning in 2006 and 2008. The two schools will tangle Saturday, and with both teams undefeated (2-0) in conference play, the winner will likely sit in the driver’s seat to host the season-ending league tournament. The No. 7 Retrievers are just 1-2 when playing the Great Danes on their home turf, but UMBC boasts one of the most prolific midfields in Peet Poillon, Kyle Wimer and Alex Hopmann. No. 17 Albany is hopeful that senior attackman Corey Small will play for the first time since undergoing leg surgery last month.

* Despite Georgetown’s troubles this season, Loyola coach Charley Toomey has consistently held to his theory that the road to the Eastern College Athletic Conference title runs through the Hoyas. The No. 19 Greyhounds are the reigning league champions and with a 3-1 record in the ECAC, they are a half-game behind current leader Massachusetts (3-0 in the conference). But Loyola is 0-3 at Georgetown, which has won seven ECAC championships since the league was formed in 2000. The Hoyas, who upset then-No. 20 Fairfield last Saturday to improve to 1-2 in the conference, would love to play spoiler again. The Greyhounds could use another big outing from attackman Shane Koppens, who has posted six goals and four assists in his past two games against Georgetown.

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Posted by Edward Lee at 9:47 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Loyola, Mount St. Mary's, Towson, UMBC
        

April 7, 2009

UMBC's Jeremy Blevins and Loyola's Mike Sawyer honored

Jeremy Blevins, a senior goalkeeper for No. 7 UMBC, was named the America East Player of the Week for his performance last week.

In the Retrievers' wins against Towson on Tuesday night and Binghamton on Saturday night, Blevins surrendered just four goals in each game. He made 11 saves against the Tigers and 10 saves against Binghamton. Blevins scooped up a career-best and UMBC season-high eight groundballs against Towson.

Mike Sawyer, a freshman midfielder for No. 19 Loyola, was selected as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Week for scoring a career-high four goals in the Greyhounds' 12-9 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

With eight goals this season, Sawyer is tied with senior Jimmy Daly for most goals by a Loyola midfielder. Sawyer was named Rookie of the Week on March 16 after posting three goals and one assist in wins over Bryant and St. John's.

Posted by Edward Lee at 3:17 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Loyola, UMBC
        

March 30, 2009

UMBC's Latham, Towson's Wheeler collect awards

Matt Latham of UMBC and Rob Wheeler of Towson were honored by their respective conferences for their performances last week.

Latham, a junior attackman, was named the America East Player of the Week for his three-goal, one-assist effort in No. 7 UMBC's 14-8 win against Stony Brook on Saturday. The Eldersburg native and Liberty graduate has scored six times in the last two contests, and the Retrievers (6-2) are 6-0 when Latham records at least one point.

Wheeler, a junior goalkeeper, anchored Towson's victories over Bucknell and Drexel, surrendering just 11 goals and making 24 saves. His 14 saves against the Bison are a career high. The Tigers (4-4) have won their last three games.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

March 23, 2009

UMBC's Alex Hopmann and Towson's Bill McCutcheon honored

UMBC's Alex Hopmann and Towson's Bill McCutcheon collected America East and Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week accolades, respectively.

Hopmann tied his career-high with four goals, including the game-winner, in the No. 8 Retrievers' 9-8 overtime victory over No. 18 Ohio State on Saturday. The senior midfielder and Annapolis graduate -- who shared the award with Stony Brook's Jordan McBride -- leads the team with 19 goals and is one score shy of tying his single-season best total of 20 goal set in 2007.

McCutcheon also racked up four goals, including the final two in the Tigers' 11-9 win against Robert Morris. The senior attackman leads the team in goals with 13 and points with 20 and is tied with senior midfielder Randall Cooper for a team-best seven assists.

Posted by Edward Lee at 8:52 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Towson, UMBC
        

March 15, 2009

Postscript from UMBC at Maryland

Justin Radebaugh knew what he was up against: taking on the country’s third-ranked faceoff specialist in a meaningful game against in-state rival Maryland in front of a pro-Terps crowd.

But Radebaugh wasn’t alone. The Boys’ Latin graduate relied on the advice of junior J.D. Harkey and with the support of his teammates on the wings, Radebaugh more than held his own, winning 10 of 20 faceoffs in the No. 9 Retrievers’ 9-7 victory over No. 4 Maryland yesterday.

With Harkey lost for the remainder of the season due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered during practice earlier in the week, Radebaugh took every faceoff. And although Terps junior Bryn Holmes -- he of the 65.6 win percentage prior to yesterday’s contest -- won seven of 12, Radebaugh edged out senior Jeff Reynolds, 4-3, and freshman Jake Bernhardt, 1-0.

"We would talk a lot between faceoffs about what I’m doing and what the other guy’s doing," Radebaugh said of his conversations with Harkey during the game. "Of course, you’re going to be nervous before the game, but I think that’s a good thing. The first thing you don’t want to do is jump. Once you settle in, you start timing the whistle and you get more comfortable as the game goes on."

Expect Radebaugh to take the brunt of the faceoffs in Saturday’s home game against Ohio State. The freshman has earned the faith of his teammates.

"He really stepped up today and did an amazing job," senior Alex Hopmann said. "Last week, we had a tough week on groundballs and face-offs, but this week, we went back to work. Justin Radebaugh, I can’t say enough about the kid. Stepped up as a freshman, first game at Maryland, and he pulls it out for us. He’s the star of the game."

Other notes:

* The Terps’ sophomore attack duo of Grant Catalino and Ryan Young combined for six goals and one assist, but UMBC surrendered just one goal to attackman Will Yeatman (in an extra-man situation) and limited the first midfield of Dan Groot, Jeremy Sieverts and Jeff Reynolds just two assists. "We knew we needed to pack it in tight and play as a unit," senior defenseman Kevin Goedeke said. "We did a good job of scouting them, and we knew what we were up against. We knew we had to take away their strengths and force them to the parts of the field that we wanted them to go, and then we slid to them at the right times."

* As significant as the rivalry is between the two programs, Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman insisted that the atmosphere at practice was not unlike the mood at previous practices against other opponents. "It’s funny because it wasn’t a big rah-rah type thing," he said. "Last week, we did the rah-rah thing [against Johns Hopkins and Princeton], and it didn’t really work for us. So today, we were a little more laidback, and I just told them, ‘Look, you’re going to have to go out there and play your game for 60 minutes and find a way to win a lacrosse game.’ And that’s what the kids did. This was a players’ win."

* Maryland coach Dave Cottle’s frustration yesterday may have stemmed from the offense’s lack of intensity. The Terps appeared lethargic until UMBC took a 9-4 lead in the fourth quarter, and many players seemed content to take shots either from long range or poor angles. Only 14 of Maryland’s 37 shots were on net. "This wasn’t a game about skill," Cottle said, dismissing a question about whether the Retrievers’ defensive schemes had taken the Terps out of their game. "This was a game about will, and we didn’t have the will that was necessary to win this game today. You could see it in pregame. We just weren’t there for whatever reason. We’ve got to fix it. We have to fix some things, and it’s more about heart and toughness than anything else."

Posted by Edward Lee at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Maryland, Postscript, UMBC
        

March 14, 2009

UMBC's Peet Poillon on leaving Ohio State

Today’s edition of The Baltimore Sun features a profile of UMBC senior midfielder Peet Poillon’s development from scorer to distributor. One thread that didn’t make the article was Poillon’s transfer from Ohio State last July.

Poillon, 21, declined to name the schools he was interested in, but one of the reasons he chose the Retrievers was because of  his familiarity with the greater Baltimore metropolitan area when he was a two-time NJCAA All-American at Howard Community College. Poillon also said that one of his post-career goals is coaching.

"I felt like Coach [Don] Zimmerman was the perfect guy to learn from," Poillon said. "He’s been around the sport for 25 to 30 years, and that’s more than three times as many years I’ve been playing."

Poillon acknowledged that he would not have considered transferring from Ohio State if Joe Breschi had remained as head coach instead of leaving for North Carolina. Still, the decision was a tough one for Poillon.

"It was hard to leave 45 guys and coaches who you really respect and like a lot," he said. "It was one of the more difficult decisions I ever made. But it was probably the right decision for my future. I don’t regret it or anything."

Next Saturday, Poillon will meet his former Buckeyes teammates when Ohio State visits UMBC for a 1 p.m. game. Poillon said he is still tight with sophomore midfielder Zach Boyt and junior midfielder Andrew Stimmel – both of whom, like Poillon, hail from the Pittsburgh area – but his feelings for the Buckeyes won’t affect his play.

"I’m friends with a lot of them, but I want to beat them," he said. "Whatever I can do to help the team win that game, I’m going to be happy about and proud of. At the same time, I respect everybody on that team and the coaching staff. I wish them the best, but not against us."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

March 13, 2009

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."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:59 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Maryland, Three things to watch, UMBC
        

March 7, 2009

Postscript from Princeton at UMBC

One of several areas of concern for UMBC, which has dropped two straight after opening the season with three consecutive victories, is a trend in which the team has fallen behind and had to dig itself out of a hole.

The No. 4 Retrievers' 14-11 loss to No. 8 Johns Hopkins was highlighted by a 3-1 deficit to start the contest, and after junior attackman Chris Jones opened the third quarter with a score to narrow the gap to two, the Blue Jays went on a 5-0 run that proved insurmountable.

In last night's 6-5 loss to No. 6 Princeton, UMBC owned a 2-1 edge at halftime, but the Tigers scored five unanswered goals and were able to withstand a furious fourth-quarter rally to secure the win. Even in a victory over Rutgers last month, the Retrievers trailed 3-0 before recording a 17-10 victory.

"We definitely need to come out a little stronger," UMBC senior goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins (Calvert Hall) said. "When we've got to dig back, especially against a great defense like [the Tigers] have, it's going to be tough to get those goals back. We just need to start doing the little things better."

Other notes:

* Princeton freshman Tyler Fiorito started and finished his second straight game. With Fiorito, the Tigers defense stymied a Retrievers offense that had averaged 13.8 goals a contest. Fiorito, who has posted a 6.40 goals-against average and a .610 save percentage, has sort of put the goalie rotation with junior Nikhil Ashra on hold. "He's ridiculous," Princeton coach Bill Tierney said of the McDonogh graduate. "The thing that highlights it the most is the kid [Ashra] sitting behind him on the bench. That kid is as good as anybody in the country. That's how good [Fiorito] is."

* The Tigers opened the season with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2001 when the program claimed the last of its six national championships. Fiorito said this year's squad is trying to re-capture that magic. "I think we've really tried to change things and get it back to the way Princeton was," he said. "We're working extra hard in the morning at 6:30, running and lifting. Guys want to turn things around and make it better."

Posted by Edward Lee at 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Postscript, UMBC
        

March 4, 2009

Postscript from Johns Hopkins at UMBC

Omitted from today’s article on No. 8 Johns Hopkins’ 14-11 victory over No. 4 UMBC last night because of deadline and space constraints was the impact junior attackman Chris Boland had on the Blue Jays' offense.

The Columbia native and Boys’ Latin graduate earned his first career start last night, and he validated coach Dave Pietramala’s decision by recording a career-best four points on two goals and two assists.

Boland, who filled in for senior and team tri-captain Josh Peck, had previously compiled just one goal and one assist in Johns Hopkins’ first two games.

"It was fun," Boland said of his start. "Josh was well-deserving of being out there. He’s a good leader and captain. I just tried to get into the groove of things and the flow of the game. It happened to work out a little bit."

Boland was declared academically ineligible before last season and was forced to sit out. But Boland has returned in good shape and given the Blue Jays another weapon on offense.

"Chris brings us a great field sense and a presence on the field," Pietramala said. "He sees the play happening before it does. He sees one pass ahead, and that’s a gift. It’s not something you teach. It’s an innate sense, and Chris really brings that to our offense. And when you have a shooter like [sophomore attackman] Kyle [Wharton] and a dodger like [junior attackman] Steven [Boyle], it’s a nice combination when you have three different guys that do three different things."

Other notes:

*The Retrievers won just seven of 26 faceoffs last night, but might have found a faceoff specialist in a guy who already does plenty for them. Junior midfielder Kyle Wimer, the team’s second-leading scorer with 15 points who also plays defense, won six of nine faceoffs. Compare that with the 1-for-17 outing of three teammates who also took faceoffs and you can see why coach Don Zimmerman vowed to have Wimer begin practicing faceoffs as soon as this afternoon’s session. "Kyle’s a scrapper. Technique’s one thing, but scrapping’s another thing," Zimmerman said. "And it was also our wing play. I thought our wing play improved. I thought [junior] J.D. Harkey was holding his own as far as making it a neutral groundball, but we just got out-ground-balled by their wings. That’s something we have to work on. I don’t know that I just want to point to the face-off guy and say, ‘That’s where the responsibility lies.’ Part of that is true, but we have to do a better job with our wings and get in there and scrap. I think that was the story of the game."

*Johns Hopkins sophomore faceoff specialist Matt Dolente won his first two faceoffs last night and even scored the team’s first goal off a faceoff win, but he did not return to the game. Without delving into specifics, Pietramala said the decision to replace Dolente with junior Michael Powers was precautionary. "Matt got banged up, but he’ll be fine," Pietramala said. "Not a season-ending injury or anything like that. It was something that was in the best interest of the student-athlete, to not play him at least for the rest of this game."

*I wasn’t able to stick around for UMBC’s news conference (big thanks to Inside Lacrosse’s Geoff Shannon for monitoring my tape recorder while I was trying to make my 10:20 p.m. deadline on a game that ended at 9:40), but it was pretty easy to sense the frustration building within senior midfielder Alex Hopmann and Zimmerman. Asked about what the Blue Jays did to limit a Retrievers offense that had been averaging 14.67 goals per game, Hopmann, an Annapolis native and graduate, answered: "The thing was, today we didn’t come out and play UMBC lacrosse. We came out and I don’t even know what lacrosse we played. It wasn’t us. We were undisciplined. We weren’t us. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not who we’re playing. I don’t care if we’re playing Hopkins or Vermont. We’ve got to play our ball, and that’s the reason why we lost this game." Zimmerman followed up with a little flare of his own, saying, "I think Alex hit the nail on the head. We were not a disciplined lacrosse team, and that’s unacceptable. If you don’t have discipline, then you can forget about everything else. I thought we lost our composure, and it almost got away from us. The silver lining is, instead of ending the game on a totally embarrassing note, our guys decided to play our game and made it a ballgame. But too little, too late."

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Postscript, UMBC
        

March 3, 2009

Johns Hopkins at UMBC: Three things to watch

The Blue Jays have owned this series, winning all six meetings, but the Retrievers are eager to break the trend. To do so, here are some things that I will keep an eye on tonight:

1) If the No. 4 Retrievers look awfully familiar to the Blue Jays, take a closer look at the midfield. UMBC (3-0) is powered by a first midfield line of seniors Peet Poillon and Alex Hopmann (Annapolis) and junior Kyle Wimer -- all three of whom rank 1-2-3 on the team in points. It's a formula that Johns Hopkins employed in the past: Adam Doneger, Kyle Harrison and Kevin Boland in 2003, Harrison, Boland and Matt Rewkowski in 2004, Harrison and Paul Rabil in 2005, and Paul Rabil and Stephen Peyser in 2007 and 2008. If the Blue Jays plan to shadow those three midfielders with long-pole defensemen, that leaves either senior attackman Ryan Smith (Fallston) or junior attackman Matt Latham (Liberty) facing off against a short-stick defensive midfielder.

2) Johns Hopkins has been a program that has long been celebrated for its tough defenses. The question for the No. 8 Blue Jays (1-1) is: Which defense shows up tonight? The one that shut out Siena over the final 45 minutes, 50 seconds in a season-opening win? Or the unit that surrendered nine of the game's first 10 goals in Saturday's loss to Princeton? Senior Michael Evans struggled with Tigers sophomore attackman Jack McBride, and juniors Matt Drenan and Sam DeVore and senior long-stick midfielder Charlie Wiggins drew unnecessary penalties. That unit has to play better to give junior goalkeeper Michael Gvozden a chance against a Retrievers offense that averages 14.7 goals per game.

3) UMBC's defense seems to have filled the void left when top close defenseman Bobby Atwell (Southern) was lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in January. Senior Steve Settembrino and juniors Matt Kresse and Brian Schneider have bent, but not broken against opponents like Delaware's Curtis Dickson and Colgate's Brandon Corp. They'll have to do much of the same against a Johns Hopkins offense that has gotten goals from seven different players.

Posted by Edward Lee at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Johns Hopkins, Three things to watch, UMBC
        

February 24, 2009

Poillon gets America East honor

UMBC senior midfielder Peet Poillon was named the America East Conference Player of the Week for registering career highs in goals (four), assists (three) and points (seven) in the No. 5 Retrievers' 17-10 victory over Rutgers on Saturday.

Poillon, who transferred from Ohio State in July, leads the team in points (10) and assists (five). The first midfield unit of Poillon, junior Kyle Wimer (eight goals and one assist for nine points) and senior Alex Hopmann (four and one for five points) rank 1-2-3 in points for UMBC, which is attempting to open the season with three consecutive wins for the first time since 2001.  

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        

February 17, 2009

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."

Posted by Edward Lee at 1:27 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: UMBC
        
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Faceoff is The Baltimore Sun's blog devoted to college and high school lacrosse. Faceoff contributors include Sun reporters Edward Lee, Mike Preston and Katherine Dunn.
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