UMBC's 10-8 victory over visiting Monmouth on Saturday was perhaps somewhat closer than Don Zimmerman would have liked, but it was still an encouraging result after the Retrievers opened the season with a 14-3 loss to No. 11 Maryland on Feb. 15.
“I thought it was very important,” Zimmerman said Monday morning. “It was our home opener and coming off a loss at Maryland, it was a chance to get in the win column. We knew it was going to be a tough game. This was a team that had known for a year that they would be playing us. So they had a year to prepare for UMBC, and they did a heck of a job with it. They knew our personnel, and they seemed to know a lot of the schemes that we run. We knew it was going to be a tough game. I was happy with way we started. I thought the second quarter got away from us a little bit. It was a dogfight in the third quarter, and then I was pleased with the way the guys really came on and won the game in the fourth.”
Zimmerman was referring to a second quarter in which the Hawks (0-1) outscored UMBC (1-1) 4-0 to knot the score at 4 at halftime. It marked the fourth period in the first six of the season in which the Retrievers were shut out, and that trend was not lost on Zimmerman.
“I think that in this case, we got four goals and in the second quarter, I think a lot of our issues were unforced turnovers and some poor decisions,” he recalled. “To me, that says we kind of got away from the game plan, that we maybe got a little too comfortable. These are things that can happen. It’s a learning process. When you start strong, you want to stay strong. I thought we just got away from doing the little things well. We had some opportunities to really build on the lead, and we just mishandled the ball or the pass was off target and things of that nature. It really is, to me, a focus issue that we have to continue to work on.”
The Retrievers will have time this week to fortify that area before Richmond (0-3) visits Retrievers Stadium in Catonsville on Saturday. Zimmerman said the team will spend Monday and Tuesday evaluating their own mistakes before planning for the Spiders.
“Monday and Tuesday are all about UMBC,” he said. “We don’t even talk about our next opponent. We review the film, show them to the guys so that they can see the mistakes that they made, and then we address them out on the field. With that, there should be no question about what we need to improve on, and this is how we want to go about doing it.”