UMBC's Brendan Mundorf had hoped to leave his mark in his final regular-season game last night against No. 19 Stony Brook.
Instead, the senior all but etched his name in the stadium turf.
Mundorf tied a career high with seven goals, including four straight in a span of 2:33 in the third quarter, to lead his team's second-half outburst in a 20-9 win, earning the No. 13 Retrievers both the America East regular-season title and hosting duties for next weekend's conference tournament.
It was most goals for UMBC since scoring 20 against Towson in 1999.
"It was a matter of what was at stake for the team," said Mundorf, who scored his 100th career goal midway through the third quarter. "If it meant scoring one goal, so be it. It came down to scrappiness and getting ground balls."
UMBC (8-4, 5-0), which entered the night tied for first place with Stony Brook, will hold the top seed as tournament play opens Friday night against Binghamton. The winner of next Sunday's final will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
The Retrievers enter the postseason having won four straight for the first time since 1999.
"To play at home in the playoffs will be great," Mundorf said. "No one from Maryland really wants to go to Long Island to play."
Mundorf, midfielder Terry Kimener (four goals) and attackmen Andy Gallagher and Drew Westervelt (three each) made sure that wouldn't happen.
Leading 7-5, UMBC broke the game open by scoring 10 of the next 11 goals. Its 10 goals in the third quarter fell two shy of a 14-year-old school record.
"We came out in the second half and didn't skip a beat," UMBC coach Don Zimmerman said. "We fought really hard on ground balls. Then we were patient on offense and kept things simple, and that's our game."
The teams traded momentum throughout the first half.
With UMBC leading, 2-0, Stony Brook (8-6, 4-1) quickly tied the game with back-to-back goals by attackman Bo Tripodi in a span of 63 seconds.
Tripodi finished with a team-high five goals.
After Stony Brook took the lead, however, the Retrievers regained control by scoring four of the final five goals of the half, the last coming when James Hyland hit the post and the rebound squirted out front to Evan Kay, who scored unassisted to increase UMBC's lead to 6-4.
Leading, 7-5, the Retrievers began their game-defining run when Mundorf sprinted from behind the goal and fired an off-balance shot that found the net.