At the end of last season, it appeared that then-junior Brian McCullough, who made of 11 of 13 starts, was poised to be UMBC’s featured goalkeeper.
But someone forgot to tell junior Adam Cohen, who impressed the coaches enough in fall workouts to overtake McCullough as the starter. And Cohen has validated their faith in him by registering career bests in both goals-against average (8.50) and save percentage (.585) in two games this year.
“It was a good feeling,” the Arnold native and Severn graduate said Tuesday afternoon. “Nothing’s set in stone. You’ve got to go out and play hard every day because if you have a bad day, you never know what can happen. I think the defense is helping me a lot, helping me be successful. Hopefully, it keeps going the right way.”
Cohen was instrumental in the Retrievers’ 11-7 victory over Rutgers on Sunday, making a career-high 14 saves to help the team secure its first win of the season.
Coach Don Zimmerman said Cohen is showing now what he demonstrated in those fall workouts that helped him vault past McCullough on the depth chart.
“We’ve liked what we’ve seen from Adam all year-round,” Zimmerman said. “In the fall when he came back, he just seemed ready to play at a higher level. His work ethic seemed better than it had been in the past, and I think he’s matured and is starting to see things in a different way. He won the starting position after fall lacrosse, and he’s continued to develop.”
One sign of Cohen’s progression was his on-field recognition, which played a role in becoming the first UMBC goalie to score a goal in 32 years of playing at the Division I level.
Trailing by three with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Scarlet Knights applied a 10-man ride, shadowing every Retrievers player and even assigning the goalie to follow an attackman.
That tactic, however, opened the field for Cohen, who ran past his bench on the sideline and tossed the ball 45 yards into an empty net with 1:39 remaining.
“I think [senior defenseman Aaron] Verardi threw me the pass, and there was no one in front of me,” Cohen recalled. “So I kept running right up the field. I ran by the sideline and our bench, and everyone was like, ‘Shoot it.’ I shot it, and I didn’t know it went in until everybody started telling me.”
It was the first goal of Cohen’s career on any level, and it might not be the last.
“It was a situation where I had to shoot it,” he said. “It’s something you’ve got to be able to do if you’re called on. … If it happens, I’ll shoot it again.”