No. 9 UMass adjusts, runs past UMBC, 11-8

Retrievers' zone effective until foe's 6-goal outburst

College Lacrosse

April 06, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Trying to slow one of the nation's most potent offenses yesterday, host UMBC came out against No. 9 Massachusetts in a tight, packed-in zone defense with the hope of forcing low-percentage shots from long range.

The ploy worked, at least for a while.

After holding UMass without a shot for nearly the first 11 minutes, the No. 17 Retrievers surrendered six straight goals in the second quarter en route to an 11-8 defeat.

"I think the zone gave them some problems early," said UMBC coach Don Zimmerman. "Then, like a good team, they made some adjustments. We knew they were going to score some goals on the zone, but we felt like maybe it would slow down the tempo a little bit, which it did. They just kind of caught fire in the second quarter."

UMBC (4-3, 1-4 Eastern College Athletic Conference) dominated early, controlling faceoffs, taking the game's first seven shots and building a 3-1 lead by late in the first quarter after two extra-man goals by midfielder Scott Steele.

UMass' first shot was a goal by Chris Fiore off a quick pass from Chris Doyle 10:47 into the game.

For the remainder of the half, however, the game belonged to the Minutemen (8-1, 2-1), who scored six straight goals over the first 14:25 of the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead.

"They were packing it in a zone and challenging us to an outside shot," Fiore said. "Usually we're a team that doesn't mind taking the outside shot, but we'd rather get the closer one. It just took us a few more seconds to adjust."

Coach Greg Cannella said the key was for his Minutemen to avoid rushing.

"We're not typically a patient team, so we made sure our guys were patient with [the zone]," Cannella said. "We told our guys to try and find the seams, move the ball two or three times and we'd get open shots. We weren't the most patient team against Penn State [11-10 loss last week], but this week we proved that we can play six on six."

Fiore led UMass with three goals, and Jeff Zywicki, Kevin Glenz and Kevin Leveille added two each. Zywicki entered the day tied for the lead in the nation with 25 goals.

Despite trailing, the Retrievers stayed in the game by controlling faceoffs (16-7) and out-shooting UMass 32-28.

Brendan Mundorf's unassisted goal five minutes into the second quarter capped a three-goal rally that cut the lead to 7-6. UMBC, however, could never tie it up, as the Minutemen sealed the win by scoring four of the next five goals.

"It just didn't go our way today," said Steele, one of three UMBC players with two goals. "It never feels good when you lose, but you can look at the positive things that you did and just get it together for the next game."

The Retrievers, 1-3 this season against ranked opponents, play at rival Towson on Wednesday. They follow that with consecutive games against North Carolina and Navy.

"Our schedule from here on out is very difficult," Zimmerman said. "We've got a great Towson team coming up on Wednesday, and we've just got to try and get better. That's the bottom line."

Massachusetts 1 6 2 2 - 11

UMBC 3 1 2 2 - 8

Goals: M-Fiore 3, Glenz 2, Leveille 2, Zywicki 2, Doyle, Lundberg; UMBC-Gerber 2, Grillo 2, Steele 2, Mundorf, Kestermann. Assists: M-Glenz 2, Fiore, Leveille, Doyle, Lundberg; UMBC-Gerber, Mundorf, Hyland, Dodson. Saves: M-Schell 15; UMBC-Flanagan 10.

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