UMBC `huge' against Terps

Blevins, Ratcliffe lead first tourney win in 27 years

UMBC 13 Maryland 9

May 14, 2007|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN REPORTER

COLLEGE PARK -- UMBC coach Don Zimmerman was an assistant coach at North Carolina and P.J. Kimener, his 27-year-old midfielder by way of the U.S. Navy, was an infant the last time the Retrievers won a game in the NCAA tournament.

Zimmerman, Kimener and everyone associated with UMBC and its men's lacrosse team enjoyed a victory for the ages last night at Byrd Stadium, where the Retrievers handled seventh-seeded Maryland, 13-9.

It was UMBC's first NCAA win since 1980, when it took the Division II title for coach Dick Watts. Zimmerman took over the program in 1994, and was 0-3 in the Division I tournament before his unseeded team turned in a splendid performance.

"It was huge, absolutely huge," Kimener said. "Last year [in the NCAAs], we didn't get a win against Princeton, but against Maryland, this was a big step. We played as a team out there. We worked our butts off."

UMBC responded to a 3-0 deficit with a 5-1 run, was in command by halftime and outscored Maryland 4-0 in the third quarter.

Jeremy Blevins, a sophomore goalie out of Calvert Hall, had a career-high 18 saves and blanked the Terps for more than 23 minutes. Freshman Cayle Ratcliffe had four goals for the Retrievers, who posted a total surpassed against Maryland only by No. 1 Duke.

That it all came against the flagship of the state's higher education system, a college some at UMBC refer to as "Maryland College Park," made it all the sweeter.

An 11-7 St. Patrick's Day loss here was UMBC's eighth straight to Maryland. Since then, however, UMBC (11-5) has lost only to Albany, the budding rival that kept it from winning the America East Conference.

The Retrievers will meet Delaware in Sunday's quarterfinals at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis. The winner will crash the final four at M&T Bank Stadium.

"This team has always been a work in progress," said Zimmerman, whose last NCAA win as a head coach came in 1989, when he was at Johns Hopkins. "I haven't thought about it [Delaware] yet. My mind's still on Maryland."

As the sun set, Maryland goalie Harry Alford cooled, UMBC's defense tightened and Blevins calmed his nerves.

"They had six saves in the first game [10, actually] and 18 in the second," Terps coach Dave Cottle responded, when asked what was different about UMBC. "We went from winning the goalie match-up to their goalie was outstanding."

Did Cottle consider pulling Alford, who missed the first seven games of the season recovering from shoulder surgery?

"No, at halftime Harry gave a passionate speech," Cottle said. "He's the vocal leader of the team. If there was one thing we could put a finger on, we would have switched. Where they [UMBC] were getting shots from, that wouldn't be fair."

Alford was on his heels during the 5-1 run that began with a Drew Westervelt goal that made him the fourth Retriever with 200 career points, and ended with a Josh Porcell score that gave UMBC its first lead.

A Terps extra-man goal by Max Ritz tied it midway through the second quarter, but UMBC took a 7-5 lead and a load of momentum into halftime.

Kimener drove left and bounced a shot past Alford to put the Retrievers ahead to stay with 1:37 left in the second quarter.

"Since the last Maryland game, everyone has found their role," Ratcliffe said. "It's been clicking."

UMBC 2 5 4 2 - 13

Maryland 3 2 0 4 - 9

Goals: U-Gallagher 2, Ratcliffe 4, Westervelt 2, Hopmann 2, P. Kimener, Porcell 2; M-Siverts, Ritz 3, M. Phipps, Groot, Feifs, Evans, Holmes. Assists: U-Porcell, T. Kimener 2, P. Kimener 2, Westervelt, Gallagher; M-Ritz, M. Phipps, Groot 3, Feifs 2, Farrell, Sear. Saves: U-Blevins 18; M-Alford 10.

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