The Retrievers lodged the biggest stunner of the young campaign when they upended Stony Brook, 12-9, on Saturday. For a team that had amassed a 2-11 record in the America East in the past two years and had been left out of the conference tournament in both seasons, capturing a win in its league opener for the first time since 2014 is crucial.
“We’re fortunate to get the win, and it’s significant in the sense that you want to do as well as you can in your league all the time,” coach Ryan Moran said Monday morning. “Being able to start out at 1-0 and beat an opponent that historically within that league has been very strong is pretty good. It’s pretty good for our program, and it’s getting things going in the right direction hopefully.”
Stony Brook had knocked off 2016 NCAA tournament semifinalist Brown on Feb. 25 and was expected to challenge the Great Danes for supremacy in the America East. So Saturday’s outcome should give UMBC (3-4 overall and 1-0 in the conference) a boost of morale and confidence, but Moran said the trick is to continue to pay attention to what got the team in position to secure that victory.
“I just hope that it proves to our guys that this is a very competitive league and the variance between one team and another is super small,” he said. “We came out on the positive end this week, but the lesson has got to be that we can be on the other side of that if we don’t handle our business the right way or we start deviating from our weekly plan of how we earn our victories throughout the week. So I want to utilize it in a way that even though we won, there’s got to be a lesson that this league is competitive top to bottom.”
The Retrievers will not dive back into league play as they will travel to clash with No. 20 Michigan (7-1) inside Michigan Stadium (also known as “The Big House"). Moran said he does not mind the mini-bye from the conference portion of the schedule.
“I like having a non-conference break,” he said. “Just trying to keep the season fresh, just trying to keep the guys engaged and morale high, it’s an opportunity to take a plane ride out to Michigan and play in the Big House and compete against a top-notch program, a Big Ten opponent. I think these games are challenges for us and will really help the coaches. When you have to play such strong competition, it really sharpens our coaching aspect of things in terms of our game plan and having things that we can utilize for this game.”