Goalie Adam Cohen gets the nod for UMBC's season opener

UMBC will open the season this Saturday against Robert Morris with Adam Cohen resuming his role as the team’s starting goalkeeper.

The senior got the nod over sophomore Wes DiRito, and coach Don Zimmerman didn’t disagree that Cohen’s experience – which includes 23 starts over his first three years – may have given him an edge in the competition.

“Adam ended the fall as our No. 1 guy and then coming back in the spring, both guys were competing and improving and challenging one another,” Zimmerman said Thursday morning. “But I think that Adam just kept that edge. It’s like when you fight a heavyweight fight. You can’t tie the champ. You’ve got to beat him, and I think that’s the situation here.”

As the Retrievers’ full-time starter last season, Cohen finished with an 11.61 goals-against average and a .469 save percentage, and the defense ranked 51st in Division I after allowing 11.6 goals per game. Zimmerman said the Arnold native and Severn graduate is expected to improve, but also said that DiRito is waiting in the wings.

“It’s Adam’s job,” Zimmerman said. “That’s why we continue to practice and evaluate our personnel on a daily basis. So it’s Adam’s job, and we expect him to go out there and do a good job. But we know that Wes is ready if need be. It’s really very similar to a backup quarterback in football. You have to be ready at any given moment, and I think Wes is there for us.”

UMBC will make a change in its starting midfield. Seniors Dave Brown and Nick Doub and freshman Pat Young will open Saturday’s contest. Senior Scott Hopmann, who recorded 14 goals and nine assists in 2012, and junior Zach Linkous, who posted 16 goals and three assists, will serve as backups.

Zimmerman conceded that he has some concerns about starting Young, but he also said that he has confidence in the 6-foot-1, 205-pound freshman.

“Pat Young is very talented,” Zimmerman said. “He’s athletic. He plays with passion. He’s got good skills. When you’ve got two seniors that have the experience, it’s easier to put a freshman in there that can follow the lead of two teammates.”

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