Retrievers finish off upset

UMBC uses strong fourth quarter to take down No. 11 Denver

UMBC 12 Denver 8


Coach Don Zimmerman knew his UMBC lacrosse team had the talent to play with just about any team in the country. Yesterday against No. 11 Denver, his Retrievers finally figured out how to finish one off.

Attackman Andy Gallagher tied a career high with five goals, including three in the fourth quarter, as host UMBC ended a three-game losing streak with a 12-8 win over the Pioneers.

The Retrievers (3-3) had led both nationally ranked Johns Hopkins and Penn after three quarters, and trailed Maryland by just a goal, before collapsing down the stretch in each game, getting outscored by a combined 17-3 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Not yesterday.

"We've been through a tough schedule, and the fourth quarter has hurt us," Zimmerman said. "But today, I didn't have to say anything. The guys knew that we had to come out [strong] in the fourth quarter."

Leading by a goal early in the period, the Retrievers sealed the win by scoring four of the final five goals, handing the Pioneers (4-2) their first loss since dropping their season opener to Virginia.

Players credited a productive week of practice.

"All we had to worry about was lacrosse," attackman Drew Westervelt said. "Our scout team did a great job of giving us a look at what they did with their [double teams], and threw a lot of defensive schemes at us. We had a great week of practice, and it showed."

Westervelt set a career high with four assists to go with a pair of goals, and senior Brendan Mundorf added four assists -- becoming the ninth player in school history to hit the 150-point mark -- as the Retrievers produced their highest offensive output this season.

Despite Denver's dominance in the faceoff circle, where senior Geoff Snider won 20 of his 24 attempts, UMBC managed to use the Pioneers' aggressive defense to its advantage.

"Offensively, we knew they were going to double us and we prepared for it all week," Zimmerman said. "Our attack has really been struggling a little bit, but this type of defense really helped us."

Although Denver dominated much of the first half, winning 12 of 13 faceoffs, UMBC managed to hold its own by scoring three extra-man goals.

In the early going, the Retrievers looked to be in control, rallying from a 1-0 deficit with four straight goals, including a pair from Gallagher.

Pretty soon, however, UMBC's trouble gaining possession began to take its toll.

The Pioneers took command in the second quarter, controlling the ball and getting off 14 of the first 15 shots. They tied the game on Todd Ruport's off-balance shot from 15 yards, then took a 5-4 lead 3:38 before halftime on Adam Goodwin's goal off a feed from Ryan Zordani.

The Retrievers managed to rebound before halftime, regaining the lead, 6-5, on a pair of goals by midfielder Evan Kay.

Denver pulled within a goal early in the fourth quarter when Ruport scored for the third time, but UMBC sealed the win when, moments after hitting the far post on a shot from close range, Gallagher scored twice in 1:56.

The win was a huge emotional lift for the Retrievers, who open their America East schedule on Sunday at home against Albany.

"We needed this really bad," Gallagher said, "Especially going into our game against Albany."

Denver 1 4 1 2 -- 8

UMBC 3 3 2 4 -- 12

Goals: D--Ruport 3, Goodwin 2, Snider 2, Zordani; UMBC--Gallagher 5, Hyland 2, Kay 2, Westervelt 2, Kimener. Assists: D-- Zordani 2, Barcus, Goltra, Goodwin, Richardson; UMBC--Mundorf 4, Westervelt 4, Gallagher, Kay, EKimener. Saves: D-- Hollingsworth 7, Konkel 2; UMBC--Blevins 13. A: 713.

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