Stony Brook must beat Hartford on Friday night to cement its 14th appearance in 14 America East tournaments. That uncertainty is no longer part of the equation for UMBC, which clinched a spot in the conference tournament for the 11th time in 11 years.
Despite losing, 18-14, to then-No. 18 Albany on Saturday, the Retrievers (6-6 overall and 2-2 in the league) are locked in as the No. 3 seed in the tournament because they hold head-to-head tiebreakers over both Stony Brook (5-9, 1-3) and Hartford (6-8, 1-3).
As important as qualifying for the America East tournament is, coach Don Zimmerman said he didn’t get the sense that the players talk much about the streak.
“That streak spans over three or four generations of teams,” he said ednesday morning. “I think the guys – this year in particular – are just focused on the year at hand and making this tournament. So I don’t know if they're as concerned about the streak. I’m sure they take a lot of pride in the fact that UMBC has been in the tournament 11 consecutive years, but I think it really does boil down to each and every squad.”
Because UMBC has no chance to rise or fall in the seedings for the conference tournament, you might think that the team would take it easy in its regular-season finale at Vermont (5-7, 0-4). But that is not the approach Zimmerman is taking.
“We’re approaching this game as if it’s the first game of the playoffs,” he said. “We lost to a very good Albany team on Saturday. Disappointed with the outcome, but we saw some good things from the guys, especially our effort. To me, effort is really everything. A few plays here and there, and the outcome could have been different, but it didn't happen. I was very pleased with our effort, and effort to me demonstrates attitude. So we want to build on that effort and carry it into Saturday’s game at Vermont. It’s always a tough game up there, and we want to make sure that we’re a better lacrosse team against Vermont than we were against Albany.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun