Home has been where the wins are for UMBC.
The Retrievers (3-2) have won three of four games at UMBC Stadium this season. The offense has averaged 11.8 goals per game, while the defense has allowed an average of 8.5 goals over those four contests.
But the team will hit the road for a Saturday visit to High Point. The game will be the Retrievers’ first away game since Feb. 15, when they fell, 14-3, to No. 1 Maryland in College Park.
Coach Don Zimmerman said the players understand the significance of Saturday’s game, which kicks off a stretch of three consecutive road games and four of the next five overall.
“I tell our guys that a road trip is a business trip,” he said Thursday. “We’re going on the road for one reason, and that’s to go down and play against High Point University. Road trips are a lot of fun. It gives the guys a chance to get away and travel and stay in a hotel. It’s always good for team chemistry and camaraderie. They’re fun to get away and play on the road, but at the end of the day, it is a business trip, and it’s important that the team understands that and not get distracted by the fact that this is our first road trip. I’m confident. I like the way this team’s attitude is right now, and I’m confident that the team will travel well.”
The Panthers (5-2) are in only their second year in Division I, but have won five straight. They are 4-0 at home and formidable, according to Zimmerman.
“They’re well coached and they have a former assistant of ours in Pat Tracy," their associate head coach, Zimmerman said. “I know they’re eager to have us come down and play us on their home field. It’s going to be a tough ballgame, and our guys are looking forward to the opportunity.”
UMBC defeated High Point, 16-11, on March 16, 2013 — their only meeting all time. The Panthers trailed just 11-9 entering the fourth quarter before the Retrievers scored five goals to put the game away.
That memory should be more than enough to dissuade the players from looking ahead to Tuesday night’s showdown with No. 19 Towson (5-2), Zimmerman said.
“I don’t think there’s any chance our guys are looking past High Point,” he said. “We’ve watched film and we’ve seen them play. They’re very talented, and the fact that they’re undefeated at home sends a strong signal. They were tough on us last year at UMBC and now we’ve got to play them at their place. So I don’t think there’s any chance our guys are looking past this High Point team.”