Fast start helped UMBC men's lacrosse beat Hartford, gain ground in America East

Any worries coach Don Zimmerman had about how UMBC would respond after a surprising loss to America East rival disappeared in the first 15 minutes of Saturday’s game against visiting Hartford.

The Retrievers outscored the Hawks, 7-2, in the first quarter en route to a 16-11 victory at UMBC Stadium. It was the sixth time this season that the team had entered the second quarter with a lead, and UMBC has won five of those games.

The strong start was a refreshing development for Zimmerman.

“I love it when the team comes out for the opening whistle and plays hard and smart and together,” he said Monday morning. “I thought that’s what we did. The guys stepped up. We didn’t try to make spectacular plays. We kept it simple, stuck to the game plan, and we were tenacious. That’s what it takes to get off to a good start.”

The win was critical for the Retrievers as they improved to 6-5 overall and 2-1 in the conference. They took sole possession of third place and likely need just one more victory over either No. 18 Albany (6-5, 3-0) on Saturday or Vermont (5-6, 0-3) on April 26 to make their 11th appearance in just as many league tournaments.

“I thought it was a big win for us,” Zimmerman said. “Throw out all the records and all the statistics going into a conference game. Every game is going to be tough. I was pleased with the way we came out. We came out strong and give Hartford credit. They made a run, which we knew they would do, in the middle portion of the game, and I thought our guys did a really nice job down the stretch of just taking charge and winning a tough ball game.”

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