In 1981, the University of Maryland Baltimore County finished with a winning record, 8-3, after its first year in Division I lacrosse. A decade later, the Retrievers did it again.
UMBC (9-6) closed out its season with consecutive wins -- an upset of the University of Maryland last week and a 15-11 victory over the University of New Hampshire at home yesterday.
"We've had a .500 season in there and I don't know how many 6-7 seasons, but in beating College Park, it proved to our younger guys that we can win the big one," said coach Dick Watts, in his 21st season at UMBC.
"By winning this one, it built their confidence even more," Watts said. "If you have a losing season, you start to doubt and think about things. With the winning season, it means things are changing."
The Wildcats (9-4) came into the game with a four-game winning streak and scored the first two goals. Then errant passes by New Hampshire allowed UMBC to take control.
When Vince Pasko took a pass from Steve Marohl and put in a shot from up close, UMBC took its largest lead of the half, 8-5, with 18 seconds left. Pasko, a junior from Archbishop Curley, had two goals and four assists, finishing the season with 43 points (22 goals, 21 assists), second to Marohl, who had 30 goals and 30 assists for 60 points.
"We had a little trouble at the beginning clicking with one another. But we started moving the ball around well and remained calm, and everything just came together," Pasko said. "Steve Marohl did an excellent job behind the goal. That's our game plan -- Steve draws men to him and when the defense slides, he passes it off to us for some scores."
Jeff Botnick needed nine points to become the fourth player in New Hampshire history to record 200 points. UMBC defenseman Chris Beckman held him to an assist.
UMBC took its biggest lead of the game, 12-7, at 5:24 of the third quarter after Pasko knocked Wildcats goalie Stowe Milhous into his own bench on his failed clear attempt. Stewart Walker scooped up the loose ball and rifled a shot into the unguarded net from 20 feet out.