UMBC stuns No. 7 North Carolina

17th-ranked Retrievers erase three-goal deficit to post 10-8 triumph

College Lacrosse

April 13, 2003|By Jeff Seidel | Jeff Seidel,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The UMBC men's lacrosse team raced out to goalie Tim Flanagan the moment the final buzzer sounded in yesterday's game against North Carolina. The Retrievers then mobbed and hugged Flanagan en masse for a performance that kept them in the hunt for an NCAA playoff spot.

Flanagan made a season-high 19 saves while teammates Adam Shiley and Josh Gerber scored key goals that helped No. 17 UMBC rally from an early three-goal deficit for a 10-8 victory over No. 7 North Carolina at UMBC Stadium - the Retrievers' second win over a Top 10 team in four days.

UMBC (6-3) scored a 10-9 upset over No. 9 Towson on Wednesday, and this win gave the Retrievers what's believed to be their first back-to-back victory over Top 10 teams since the school moved to Division I in 1981. The Retrievers face another big test Tuesday in Annapolis when they meet No. 15 Navy.

Flanagan gave up three goals before making a save and didn't have one stop in the first period. North Carolina (5-5) took a 4-1 lead early in the second quarter before Flanagan began making saves from every possible angle as the Tar Heels ran up a 45-31 edge in shots.

The senior made his final home game at UMBC a memorable one by stopping all kinds of shots and keeping the Retrievers in the game long enough for their offense to awaken.

"No doubt about it, he was the key," UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said. "To win at this level, you have to get outstanding goalie play. He's [done] that for us all year, and he's an inspiration to the team."

Flanagan said he just needed to stay focused during his team's slow start because North Carolina was finding high-percentage shots that left him with little chance.

"You always want to come out and make the first save," Flanagan said. "It's easy to get rattled, but you have to stay composed.

UMBC slowly began climbing back into the game during the second quarter, when Flanagan made seven saves. Zimmerman saw that North Carolina's speed was hurting his team, so he switched to a zone defense. The Retrievers seemed more comfortable in that, and the Tar Heels began to slow down on offense.

Shiley got the first of his three goals (career-high four points), and Franklin Berry scored twice - the second with eight seconds left to give UMBC a 4-4 halftime tie.

The Retrievers never trailed again. They were able to stay in front thanks to their tough zone that stopped the Tar Heels from cutting through in front of Flanagan, and the goalie himself, who kept making tough saves.

UMBC took a 7-5 lead early in the fourth quarter on a goal from Phil Grillo (two goals) before the Tar Heels tied it with two goals 20 seconds apart and 11:49 left. Gerber then scored his two goals for a 9-7 lead with 8:37 left. North Carolina scored once more, but the defense and Flanagan shut it down.

Zimmerman said that he gave game balls to Flanagan and the other nine seniors to reward their work. The coach likes how hard his team is playing with a postseason bid on the line.

"Every guy on the team needs to be playing his best lacrosse in April and playing together," Zimmerman said. "I think our guys now are hungry for the next [test]."

Mike McCall led the Tar Heels with two goals and two assists, but North Carolina coach John Haus was unhappy with his team's overall play.

"That was a very disappointing effort by our club, and I take full responsibility for that," Haus said. "I thought we would play better for a full 60 minutes."

North Carolina 3 1 1 3 - 8

UMBC 1 3 2 4 - 10

Goals: UNC-McCall 2, Prossner 2, Blair, Garrison, Will, Zimmerman; UMBC-Shiley 3, Gerber 2, Grillo 2, Berry 2, Kestermann. Assists: UNC-McCall 2, Will 2, Blair; UMBC-Shiley, Kestermann, Steele. Saves: UNC-Spellman 12; UMBC-Flanagan 19.

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