University of Maryland Baltimore County recently pulled off another remarkable upset, and this time the accomplishment featured some local ties.
The Retrievers' men's lacrosse team defeated visiting Albany on April 6, taking down the top-ranked team in Division I at the time. Sophomore Nick Griffin, a Liberty graduate, started on UMBC's defense.
He collected a ground ball and caused one turnover in the team's 11-7 victory.
Albany came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation for six consecutive weeks. The Great Danes presented the nation's top offense at 15.4 goals per game, its top scoring defense, allowing seven goals per game and the top face-off unit at 81.5 percent. Griffin also played a part in holding down a potent offense for Albany, which came into the game on a 31-game winning streak in conference play.
Griffin's turnover and loose-ball pickup came midway through the second quarter, and it led to a goal that gave UMBC a 6-2 lead. The Retrievers (4-7) led 8-2 at halftime and held off the Danes for perhaps the second biggest upset in the school's sports history.
On March 16, as college hoops fans are well aware, the Retrievers defeated Virginia in the NCAA men's basketball tournament and became the first No. 16 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed.
Griffin has made 11 starts for UMBC this spring with 18 ground balls and 14 caused turnovers. He had six grounders in a loss against UMass Lowell, and three caused turnovers earlier in the season against Mount St. Mary's.
Last season, the Marriottsville resident played in 14 games (13 starts) for UMBC and collected 11 ground balls and four caused turnovers.
The Retrievers' roster also features junior midfielder Blake McDermott (South Carroll), who has one goal and three groundballs.
A good time to get hot
Virginia Commonwealth University's women's lacrosse team is heating up with the regular season winding down, and Carroll County's contingent of Rams is certainly doing its part. VCU improved to 6-8 with two wins this past weekend, and the Rams have won four in a row heading into Friday's game against La Salle.
Last Friday, VCU edged George Washington 13-12 behind four goals from junior attacker Molly Barcikowski (Liberty). The Colonials cut the deficit to one with less than one minute to play and won the ensuing draw control, but Rams freshman defender Caroline Glenn (Century) caused a turnover and helped seal the win.
Sophomore midfielder Keriann McTavish (South Carroll) added a goal and three assists against GW.
Then came Sunday's game at Davidson. The Rams trailed 11-8 with about 16 minutes to go before mounting a comeback and forcing overtime. Redshirt junior attacker Sky Hyatt (Century) reeled off three of her season-high seven goals, and VCU's defense held Davidson scoreless down the stretch.
Barcikowski netted the game-winner 39 seconds into the OT, and the Rams won 12-11 for their fourth Atlantic 10 Conference victory — the most in a season for a team in its third year, coached by former South Carroll standout Jen (Kasper) O'Brien.
Hyatt leads VCU in scoring with 45 points (39 goals, six assists), and Barcikowski is second with 44 (24, 20). McTavish sits third at 32 points (16, 16).