Good vibes continue, but focus shifts for UMBC

UMBC’s abbreviated week of preparation for Saturday’s contest against No. 2 Johns Hopkins in the Konica Minolta Face-Off Classic at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore got off to a good start with Tuesday night’s 8-7 upset of No. 5 Maryland.

The win has lifted the Retrievers (2-2) and perhaps even emboldened them about their chances against a Blue Jays program that has dominated the series between these in-state rivals to the tune of 9-0.

“Obviously, Hopkins is a great team, and it’s a huge task ahead of us. But we have confidence,” sophomore midfielder Conor Finch said Thursday. “We know we can play with them. I think the win against Maryland really has helped us focus and settle down. We’re going to get a few good days of practice in here and then give Hopkins our best shot.”

Coach Don Zimmerman was a bit more pragmatic. As much as he allowed the players to enjoy the aftermath of Tuesday night’s victory, he also emphasized to the players that the season is still young.

“You need to enjoy the wins, and that’s all part of it. But in this situation, the fact that we played a midweek game and have to come right back and get ready for the next opponent, there’s not a lot of time to do that,” Zimmerman said. “You’ve got to be ready to move forward. It would be the same way if you lose a game.”

Much like Tuesday night’s game against the Terps, UMBC figures to be the prohibitive underdog against the Blue Jays. And that’s fine with Finch.

“I love the underdog role,” the Westminster native and Boys’ Latin graduate said. “I’ve been in the underdog role pretty much my whole life. So I think our team really feeds off it. I think a lot of the guys like it because we kind of see it as an advantage for us.”

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