UMBC was on a desperate quest for another game, and the Retrievers sure performed like they deserve one.
The regular season in college lacrosse concluded with a jaw-dropper yesterday, as Don Zimmerman's team outscored Maryland 7-1 over the last 24 minutes to register a monumental 12-8 victory at UMBC Stadium. The Terps are No. 2 in The Sun's poll, and the Retrievers are unranked.
The outcome could gain more significance today, when the NCAA announces its 12-team tournament field. Maryland was top-ranked in the USILA poll, but blew its shot at the precious No. 1 seed. UMBC vaulted into consideration with its second quality win, which was as good as it gets for Zimmerman.
"In my life, this is the biggest win I've had," Zimmerman said.
This is a coach who won three NCAA titles in his seven seasons at Johns Hopkins. It's been an uphill climb for Zimmerman since 1994, when he took over at UMBC, which is in its 18th season in Division I and is still after its first tournament berth at that level.
If the Retrievers (9-4) get a nod today, it will be because of the biggest upset of the season, which featured an attack that took the air out of the ball, a defense that relied on a wrinkle, and old-fashioned hustle. Simply put, the Terps (11-2) didn't want this one as bad.
Matt Hahn, who scored four times and tied the Maryland record for career goals, said the Terps "played with no emotion, no sense of urgency."
Goalie Kevin Healy said UMBC "took it to us. They seized the day."
Zack Burke might have seized UMBC's whole season with four minutes left.
Maryland's Brian Haggerty dominated the faceoffs, but the Retrievers' zone limited the Terps' inside and junior goalie Andrew Hampson came through with the game of his life. He helped the Retrievers take a 4-2 lead, before the Terps settled down and moved on top 7-5 on a goal by Hahn with 9: 53 left in the third period.
UMBC responded with a 3-0 run, but Hahn's 137th career goal made it 8-8 with 6: 36 left.
Burke, a sophomore out of St. Mary's High, stepped up and into the path of a Maryland pass a few minutes later. He raced upfield and dumped a pass on his left to Chris Turner, who got what would be the game-winning goal with 3: 36 left.
There would be no Terp comeback, just more from the Retrievers. Midfielder John McDonnell followed with his fourth goal, Dan Marohl got his second and Turner got another in the closing seconds. Even when UMBC was a man up and a goal down, the Retrievers had slowed the pace, but they accelerated at the end.
"We didn't want to run and gun," said McDonnell, who was one of two seniors honored in pregame activities, evidence of the Retrievers' youth. "We're not an up-and-down team, and we wanted to control the ball, get the best look we could when we had it."
Maryland, meanwhile, was hasty at times. Hampson had 14 saves as UMBC was outshot 45-32, and there was strong work in front of him, where defensive coach Ed Stephenson juggled his hand.
Burke had been the long-stick midfielder, but he switched roles with Al Hernandez and worked close defense with Jason Quenzer and Dave Ford. Quenzer, who like Hampson and Turner prepped at Boys' Latin, even worked a wing on some faceoffs. Burke helped shut down Andrew Whipple, who is recovering from a bruised shoulder.
"They defended us well," Maryland coach Dick Edell said. "I hope they did. I hope we're not as poor an offensive team as we showed today."
While the Terps were shut down in the final 24 minutes, the Retrievers reached new heights with their first win over their state rival since 1991. Zimmerman said he had no doubts when his team fell behind, but why didn't he?
"We haven't had a team like this one," Zimmerman said. "These guys never quit. We are peaking at the right time."
UMBC had to climb out of an 0-2 start in March. All of its losses came to teams on the fringe, but among the hopefuls for the last spots in the NCAA tournament. Which team is the only one with wins over two of the top eight in the polls? UMBC, which last month beat Georgetown.
"Every game we play, we have to prove ourselves," said Turner, who felt that the NCAA tournament wasn't the overriding motivation yesterday. "Besides it being Maryland, how much more incentive do you need?"
Pub Date: 5/03/98