The Sun’s preview on UMBC will be published Wednesday, but here’s a sampling of my interview with coach Don Zimmerman.
Injuries have taken a toll on the Retrievers, who will play the 2012 season without Joseph Impallaria. The junior midfielder who boasted the team’s best face-off percentage last year (50.5 percent on 50-of-99 face-offs) tore the rotator cuffs on both shoulders.
Several starters have been sidelined from practice by ailments. Senior defenseman Aaron Verardi and junior midfielder Scott Hopmann tweaked their hamstrings and have yet to practice. Junior midfielders Dave Brown (sprained ankle) and Nick Doub (high ankle sprain) have also missed some practice time.
But Zimmerman isn’t stressed out by the absences of Hopmann, Brown and Doub. In fact, he said that other players like sophomores Dave Campbell (a converted attackman), Conor Finch, Ryan Johnston, Zach Linkous and junior Jake Zimmerman have taken advantage of the extra reps in practice.
“[S]ome of the younger guys have gotten a significant amount of playing time and practice time, which has benefitted them as well,” Zimmerman said. “So it’s like anything else in that you try to turn a negative into a positive, and I think through the first two weeks of practice, a lot of guys are getting valuable practice time and experience.”
Similarly, Zimmerman said he is not worried about the spate of injuries.
“[Kids] get banged up, and it’s all part of what happens in this sport, in the preseason,” he said. “I was very pleased with the way our team came back from the break. We had 90 percent of our guys pass the running test, which is very challenging. So I just think these things happen, and it’s all part of preseason. We’re looking forward to getting these guys back up and running.”