UMBC lacrosse midfielder Brian Duncan scored two goals in the last five minutes, helping the No. 10 Retrievers hold off the University of Pennsylvania, 19-15, yesterday at UMBC Stadium.
The victory was UMBC's first in five tries against the Quakers (2-3) and marked the first time UMBC has begun a season at 4-0 since moving up from Division II to Division I play in 1981.
But UMBC coach Dick Watts was hardly in the mood for celebrating. He was just relieved to escape with the win.
"A great defensive game, huh?," said Watts, who was without his 2 scorer, attackman Jamie Batley (11 points), who has a strained back. "Thirty-four goals? Geez. We haven't played team defense this badly all season, and that includes the midfield too. This had to be just for one game. It had to be. I'm glad we got it out of our system."
But Penn played just as poorly on defense, never able to stop the Retrievers' transition game, particularly attackman Steve Marohl (South River High) who set a UMBC single-game record with 12 assists and became the school's all-time assist leader with 86. Marohl also moved to No. 2 on the all-time point-scoring list with 168. That record, held by Jay Robertson (1978-81) is 200.
Retrievers attackman Jason Smith benefited most from Marohl's passing, with five goals. Duncan (C. Milton Wright) finished with four, including one with 4:06 left in the game to put UMBC ahead, 18-15, and the game's final goal with 2:34 remaining.
"We knew our defense was struggling, and we have a lot of confidence in our offense," said Marohl. "So we just decided to pick it up a little bit more today. As for the assists, I never knew I had that many. I kept looking for anybody who was moving their feet."
"Our offense definitely won it for us today," said Watts. "We knew coming into the game [that] Penn was going to be tough. They have an established program and a good tradition. Give them credit. They never quit and didn't give us much breathing room."
The Retrievers scored on six of their first seven shots on goal and had a 7-1 lead with 9:57 remaining in the first quarter.
But UMBC's defense collapsed in the next 3:44. Penn scored four unanswered goals to trail 8-5 at the end of the quarter.
Just how poor were the defenses in the period? Ten goals were scored on the first 11 shots with one save. Both teams switched goalies in the quarter, and twice more during the game.
"For the first seven minutes, we completely disappeared," said Penn coach G.W. Mix. "Where did we go? I don't know."
"We just became too relaxed after the big lead," said UMBC defender Chris Beckman. "We picked it up a little in the second half."
The second quarter was nearly a repeat of the first. UMBC twice had five-goal leads, only to have it trimmed to 13-9 on a goal by Quaker attackman Andy Lapitsky before the intermission.
UMBC pushed its lead to 16-10 with a three-goal spurt in the first seven minutes of the third period.