Don Zimmerman can't imagine where the UMBC offense would be if attackman Matt Gregoire had decided to not return for a fifth year of eligibility.
"I don’t think I'd want to do that," Zimmerman said with a chuckle on Monday morning.
Gregoire, a South River graduate, has broken several records for the Retrievers (7-6, 3-2), who – as the No. 3 seed – will meet second-seeded Binghamton (7-7, 4-1) in the America East semifinals at Stony Brook on Thursday.
His 41 goals in 2014 are the most by a UMBC player in a season since Cayle Ratcliffe scored 42 in 2007. Gregoire became the fifth Division I player in school history to score at least 40 goals and became the 31 player to compile 100 career points (89 goals and 13 assists).
He has accounted for 26.3 percent of the team’s 156 goals and 19.2 percent of its 245 points. And Gregoire has been a calming influence for an offense that starts a freshman and a sophomore on attack and two sophomores and a junior in the midfield.
Those numbers are impressive, but Zimmerman said Gregoire’s value exceeds statistics.
“He obviously is doing a terrific job for us,” Zimmerman began. “His stats reflect that and will be reflected in the records that he’s made here. I think there is so much more though than what you see in the statistics. The fact that he made a decision and a commitment to come back for his fifth year is really when this whole thing started, and to me, that’s the real legacy that Matt Gregoire will leave to this program – his character, his leadership, his commitment to this program. And I think it’s an example of good things happening to good people.”
But Zimmerman pointed out that Gregoire would be the first to spread the credit around to his teammates.
“He’s been the recipient of other guys stepping up,” Zimmerman said. “When you play inside, you depend on the other guys to get you the ball, and so other guys have stepped up and done their jobs in dodging hard and creating slides. But Matt has stepped up in finishing the shots. It’s all about teamwork."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun