It’s no surprise that the starting attack and midfield have fueled UMBC this season, but the team needs more output from its second midfield.
The unit’s ineffectiveness has been especially noticeable in the Retrievers’ two games in the America East. In a 12-11 overtime decision over Stony Brook on March 28 and a 13-7 loss to Binghamton on Sunday, the second midfield has combined for zero goals on four shots and one assist.
The starting unit of sophomores Pat Young and Jack Gannon and junior Ty Kashur has totaled eight goals on 25 shots and six assists for UMBC (5-5 overall and 1-1 in the league). Coach Don Zimmerman said that trio could use some support.
“I think that anybody who steps on the field has to be ready to produce,” he said on Tuesday morning. “I don’t think there’s a team in lacrosse that feels that it can get through a game playing just one midfield. Most teams are going to play their first midfield more than their second. But you need that second midfield to go in there and spell your first unit and, while they’re in there, be productive.”
Zimmerman said seniors Zach Linkous and Ryan Johnston, freshman Dylan McDermott and Grant Searfoss and junior Tim Lang are competing for spots on the second line, and how they perform in practice could determine how much playing time they get when Hartford (4-7, 0-2) visits UMBC Stadium on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in an America East showdown.
“To us, this is the most important game of the year,” Zimmerman said. “You can’t look at scores and records and all that. I’ve said that when you get to conference play, it’s a whole new season, it’s a five-game season. Each game is extremely important. It has nothing to do with win-loss records. Hartford’s a good team. It’s always been a battle, and in our minds, this is the most important game of the year.”