UMBC coach: senior Smith playing smarter

Men's Lacrosse Notebook

April 09, 2009|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,edward.lee@baltsun.com

Ryan Smith has experienced highs and lows.

The high point occurred last season when as a junior at UMBC, he recorded 43 points on 29 goals and 14 assists. The low point took place in May, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the America East tournament final.

This spring, the senior attackman has encountered mixed results. He scored a season-high four goals in the No. 7 Retrievers' 13-4 win over Binghamton on Saturday night but has posted a total of just 14 points on 11 goals and three assists.

Asked whether he's the same player he was last season, Smith said: "Definitely not. I'm not really dodging a whole lot, but I'm picking my spots and going to the goal at different points in the game. ... I'm just out there, being a role player, getting assists and making sure that the offense is working."

Smith's role has changed in part because the Retrievers funnel their offense through their first midfield unit of Peet Poillon, Alex Hopmann and Kyle Wimer. Smith also estimates he has added 20 pounds because, in part, his doctor and coach Don Zimmerman banned him from anything lacrosse-related on his surgically repaired knee until January.

"It is frustrating because you lose a step and you're not as quick as you used to be," Zimmerman said. "But you learn to adapt. What you maybe lose in quickness, you gain in smarts, and that's what Ryan has done."

Et cetera

While an announced attendance of 22,308 at the Inside Lacrosse Big City Classic at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., last Saturday set a record for a lacrosse regular-season game, Inside Lacrosse is quietly optimistic there will be similar interest in Saturday's Smartlink Day of Rivals event at M&T Bank Stadium. Army (5-6) meets No. 12 Navy (8-3) and No. 11 Johns Hopkins (4-4) plays No. 15 Maryland (6-4) . "These are two games that get 10,000 people or more on their own," said Andy Bilello, director of business development for Inside Lacrosse, which has already sold more than 14,000 tickets. "So to say we're going to get up to 20,000 sounds reasonable." ... Navy junior attackman Tim Paul, who leads the team in scoring, is a game-time decision against Army because of a sprained left ankle. ... North Carolina senior goalie Grant Zimmerman is likely out for the season after injuring his knee in the No. 10 Tar Heels' 11-10 loss to No. 1 Virginia at the Big City Classic.

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