Don Zimmerman not worried about balance in UMBC offense

UMBC’s 11-7 victory over Rutgers on Saturday to even the team’s record at 1-1 was highlighted by an impressive performance from the attack unit. Senior Matt Gregoire led the team with three goals, and senior Scott Jones chipped in two goals and one assist. Freshman Nate Lewnes scored a goal, and senior Joe Lustgarten came off the bench to record one goal and three assists.

The trio of Jones, Lustgarten and Lewnes combined for four goals and three assists in a12-9 loss to Robert Morris in a season opener that Gregoire missed for undisclosed reasons. Through the first two games, the starting attack has accounted for 10 goals and four assists, while the first midfield has totaled four goals and one assist.

Although uneven, the point distribution doesn’t concern coach Don Zimmerman.

“I think we’re capable of attacking the goal from behind and up front,” he said Monday morning. “We’re playing four attackmen right now, and we played nine midfielders on Saturday. Nate Lewnes played both attack and midfielder for us, Joe Lustgarten played both attack and midfield for us. So I don’t consider it to be lopsided. I think we have a bunch of guys who are doing a good job of sharing the ball. How it all pans out, that kind of happens, but I think our offense is spreading the ball nicely between our attack and our middies.”

Lewnes, an Arnold native and St. Mary’s graduate, has collected one goal and one assist in two starts. Zimmerman wouldn’t say whether Lustgarten would join Jones and Gregoire as starters in Tuesday night’s game at No. 1 Loyola, but he said Lewnes played well enough in the preseason and against Robert Morris to start.

“We just felt like Nate was practicing well and giving us a good look on offense, and we just felt like we were going to go with him for those starts,” Zimmerman said. “Starting is one thing and playing is another thing. We’re putting a lot of guys on the field, and I think Nate’s doing a nice job.”

The Retrievers (1-1) have a tough task with the Greyhounds (2-1), but rebounding from the loss to the Colonels by beating the Scarlet Knights was a good step for the team, according to Zimmerman.

“I think it was a significant win for the team,” he said. “We’ve been practicing hard and the attitude’s been tremendous. I thought in our scrimmages, we started to see the progression we were looking for. And then we went up to Robert Morris and had a setback. I thought it was important for the group to respond in a positive way, and they did in the Monday preceding the Rutgers game when they came out. We got back to work, and we were determined to learn from the first game and keep improving, and I think that’s what happened on Saturday. Saturday was the result of just a real good week of practice and coming off a tough road loss and rebounding and getting back on track.”

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