BALTIMORE – The Maryland men’s lacrosse team outshot UMBC Tuesday night, was perfect on clears and committed fewer turnovers.
Even though the Retrievers were down 5-2 after the first two quarters, UMBC head coach Dom Zimmermansaid his team didn’t hang their heads at half time.
“We hung tough…we didn’t let them run away with it. Our guys were determined, you could see it in their eyes, they were determined to do whatever it took to win this game,” he said.
UMBC can thank Phil Poe for much of their success on the night.
The sophomore midfielder, who played high school lacrosse at DeMatha down the road from Maryland’s campus, outplayed his All-American counterpart, junior Curtis Holmes.
Coming into the game, Poe had won just 50 percent of his faceoffs. But he took 13 against Holmes and two against Maryland freshman midfielder Bobby Gribbin, who came into the game because Holmes struggled.
Poe’s work in the middle, winning 79 percent of his faceoffs, allowed Maryland’s in-state rival to win the possession battle.
But the Retrievers responded with five goals in a row. More importantly, they played suffocating defense and stifled a Maryland offense averaging 12.7 goals per game.
UMBC suffered narrow defeats in their two losses this season, one by two goals and the other by one goal. This time, they came out on top, even if they didn’t play well for the entire 60 minutes.
“I knew when they showed up at the stadium tonight they were ready to play, they were excited, they were focused,” Zimmerman said.
The same couldn’t be said for Maryland. The Terps never seemed comfortable on the attack and lacked emotion coming off a big win against ACC rival Duke on Saturday.
“We obviously knew this was going to be a short turnaround, a big challenge for us, and I didn’t do a good enough job getting our guys ready. Plain and simple,” Maryland head coach John Tillman said after the loss.
The Terps’ leading scorer, senior captain Joe Cummings, said Maryland just didn’t make enough plays.
“We didn’t come out with the focus that we needed to play with,” Cummings said.
Maryland had their chances to tie the game down the stretch, but couldn’t convert.
The defense caused a turnover with about two minutes left to play, and junior midfielder John Haus powered his way to the edge of the crease before scoring to bring the Terps within one goal.
Maryland won the ensuing face off and had numbers going towards the net, but Cohen saved junior captain Owen Blye’s shot from just a couple yards away. It was the biggest of his eight saves on the night and sixth of the final quarter.
When the Terps needed a goal, the offense that prides itself on having great balance didn’t have someone to step up and take control.
“It’s hard to duplicate in practice. The anxiety and the pace of a game that has all these different things going on, it’s a bit chaotic. We just have to do a better job managing that, but again, I’ll take full responsibility for it. If we’re not successful it’s my fault,” Tillman said.
UMBC’s patient, methodical offense caused problems for the Terps all night, said junior long stick midfielder and captain Jesse Bernhardt.
“It’s not the easiest thing, it sort of slows the tempo down. We like to play fast pace, get the ball on the ground and go the other way, so I think they did a good job of playing to one of our weaknesses,” he said.
Tillman said the team was frustrated because UMBC’s ball-control offense didn’t allow the Terps to play their up-tempo game.
“We couldn’t get into a rhythm…It was just hold it, keep it in the box, keep it in the box, keep it in the box. We knew that’s what they do. They basically hold it [and] slow the ball game down,” he said.
Both the Terps and Retreivers only had three days to prepare for the game.
“It wasn’t that week long hype…There was no time to psych ourselves out. As our coach said, it was a players game. We came in, we were ready to go. We just played,” said UMBC sophomore attack Conor Finch.
Maryland has lost four of the last six games to UMBC. The Terps will look to bounce back from their first loss of the season against Marist at home on Saturday at 1 p.m.
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