UMBC first-year coach Don Zimmerman believes lacrosse is a simple game.
"Teams that are well-conditioned, understand the fundamentals and execute them are most successful," he said.
Yesterday afternoon, that description best befit visiting Lehigh.
The Engineers appeared hungrier and more fundamentally sound in defeating the Retrievers, 12-10, at UMBC Stadium.
"Today, I saw some things that I hadn't seen in a while," Zimmerman said. "Offensively, we were selfish and we didn't shoot smart shots. What happens is, all of a sudden you're not ready to play a ballgame and then all of a sudden you realize you're in a ballgame and you start reverting back to some bad habits. It's a very disappointing loss to this team and a well-deserved win for Lehigh.
"You have to give Lehigh credit, because from the opening whistle they outplayed us and out-hustled us and it made for a long afternoon."
UMBC outshot Lehigh 40-28, lost the battle for ground balls 45-40 and tied them in faceoffs with 12. The Retrievers had 10 extra-man opportunities and only came away with one extra-man goal.
Lehigh (3-0), which opened the season with wins over VMI and St. Joseph's, found the net first when senior attackman Jeffrey Jenkins, a John Carroll product, fed Matt Sweetman for the first of his game-high five goals.
A pair of underclassmen answered for the Retrievers as sophomore attackman Chris Lloyd scored on an assist from freshman midfielder John McDonnell.
The Retrievers' porous defense allowed Lehigh defenseman Chris Padurano enough penetration to tally an unassisted longstick-goal that gave the Engineers a 2-1 lead with 7:07 left in the first quarter.
Jason Smith, who scored five goals and had two assists in the Retrievers' 15-5 win over Butler Thursday, evened the score with an unassisted goal with 1:11 left in the first.
Sweetman's second goal got the lead back for the Engineers and another by Derick Hallahan, assisted by another local, freshman Anthony Souza of St. Mary's, put Lehigh in front 4-2 with 6:54 left in the half.
UMBC cut the lead to one on an unassisted extra-man goal by Smith before Sweetman made it a 5-3 game at the half with his third goal.
Things only got worse for UMBC in third quarter. Thirty seconds into the period, Smith collided with a Lehigh defender and had to be taken off the field in an ambulance. He was taken to St. Agnes Hospital to be checked for a possible concussion, but was treated and later released.
Sweetman's fourth goal put Lehigh ahead 6-3 and Jenkins' second goal gave the visitors a 10-7 lead with 6:15 remaining.
"When we got behind and started to scramble, we really lost our composure," said Zimmerman.
UMBC (3-2) still had a chance when Stewart Walker cut the lead to three with 5:22 left.
Lehigh nailed it shut with a late goal before Greg Sabo and Keith Chance made it look close with goals in the final 54 seconds.