UMBC falls in America East Tournament opener

Retrievers' season ends with 11-7 loss to Albany

May 06, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

The UMBC men's lacrosse team's bid for a fifth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance wasn't going to be easy. And now, it's not going to be at all.

Needing to win the America East tournament championship and the league's automatic qualifier for the third straight year, the Retrievers didn't make it out of the semifinal round, succumbing to visiting Albany in an 11-7 loss before an announced 553 at UMBC Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Great Danes (5-10), the No. 3 seed in the America East tournament, will meet top-seeded Stony Brook in the tournament final Saturday.

UMBC's season ends with a 4-9 record — the worst mark under coach Don Zimmerman since the 1996 squad went 3-9.

Unlike the regular-season meeting April 17, when the Retrievers sprinted to a 7-2 start en route to a 12-7 victory, the team led only once — at 1-0 after a goal from senior midfielder Maxx Davis 2 minutes, 35 seconds into the first quarter.

Albany then scored four goals in a 1:41 span. Senior attackman Dave Brock said the players willed themselves to mount a rally.

"Coming into this game, we told ourselves that there was no way we could lose," he said. "We didn't even think about losing. Everything we did was about winning, winning, winning."

UMBC senior attackman Chris Jones scored twice to cut the deficit to one after the first quarter. But in the second quarter, the Great Danes leaned on redshirt freshman midfielder Dwayne Stewart, who scored twice. On both occasions, Stewart, the conference's Rookie of the Week, used his quickness to create enough space to fire shots past Retrievers freshman goalkeeper Adam Cohen.

Clinging to a 6-4 lead at halftime, Albany scored the only two goals of the third quarter, and when UMBC sophomore attackman Rob Grimm (a game-high four points on three goals and one assist) converted a feed from Davis 2:15 into the fourth quarter, the goal ended a drought of 20:47 for the Retrievers.

But UMBC could not rally. Davis said the Great Danes' strategy played a role in handcuffing the offense.

"They did throw a little zone at us from time to time, and that's something that they didn't do in the first game," said Davis, who recorded one goal and two assists. "So I think that might have caught us a little off-guard. … We just couldn't beat their short-sticks cleanly."

Stewart, senior attackman Dave Brock and sophomore midfielder Jack Reynolds each scored twice for the Great Danes.

UMBC got no production from its top two scorers. Senior midfielder Kyle Wimer, who led the team in assists (19) and points (35), did not register a single point, ending a streak of 31 consecutive games with at least one. Senior attackman Matt Latham, who led the team with 25 goals, was held scoreless for only the second time this season.

"The thing is, we didn't take advantage of that by moving the ball and finding the open man," Zimmerman said. "And when we did, we shot terribly tonight, and it's something we've improved on over the course of the year."

Notes: UMBC went 0-for-2 on extra-man opportunities. The offense ended the season without converting on its last 17 man-up chances. …Cohen finished with four saves before he was replaced by senior Kevin Kohri with 9:37 left in the game.

Albany 4 2 2 3 — 11

UMBC 3 1 0 3 — 7

Goals: A—Brock 2, Reynolds 2, Stewart 2, Bonitatibus, Johnson, Kehoe, Ostrander, Woods; UMBC—Grimm 3, Jones 2, Davis, Kimbles. Assists: A—Brock, Gleason, Johnson, Olson; UMBC—Davis 2, Grimm, Kimbles. Saves: A—Carroll 11; UMBC—Cohen 4, Kohri.

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