COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland lacrosse coach Dave Cottle was in search of a scoring midfielder, and midfielder Jeremy Sieverts was in search of a home. They found each other yesterday. Cottle may have also found a go-to attackman in the 10th-ranked Terps' 11-7 win over No. 18 UMBC at Byrd Stadium.
Sieverts, a sophomore, transferred from Butler in January after the school shut down its lacrosse program. He scored a hat trick in the first half yesterday, and once the Retrievers found a way to shut him down in the second half, they couldn't contain senior attackman Michael Phipps, who had two goals in the third period.
It was the third straight win for Maryland (5-2), which had been in a semi-tailspin after back-to-back losses to Georgetown and Duke. A major problem had been the lack of scoring from the midfield, but that changed yesterday with Sieverts and fellow midfielder Chris Feifs, who had two goals.
Traditionally, Maryland has been a team that starts its offense behind the cage. The Terps prefer to pick, dodge and roll with their attackmen. But Cottle changed the tone by jump-starting his offense from up top with his midfielders, and Sieverts was hot early. He took only five shots, but scored on three of them.
"We felt like we had to attack more from out top," Cottle said. "We thought they would be prepared for the big, little stuff behind the goal, so we put in some new stuff this week."
The Retrievers (3-3) were led by midfielders Terry Kimener, who had three goals and an assist, and Alex Hopmann, who added two goals and an assist.
Sieverts scored with 11:52 remaining in the first quarter on a high shot, and then hit another bomb with 5:35 left. He set the tone for most of the game. Sieverts had gotten off to a slow start this season, but now he seems to be finding his groove.
"Jeremy Sieverts can play better than he has played, and him making some shots early really helped us," Cottle said. "Jeremy has been at a disadvantage because he didn't have fall ball, or January time to work out. When he came in, all we tried to do was plug him in on different spots on offense, and we really didn't have time to work with him. Now as we begin to settle down to a week-to-week thing, he feels more comfortable because we have more time to work with him."
Apparently UMBC didn't know much about Sieverts, either, because the Terriers put a short-pole midfielder on him in the first half. They covered him with a long pole in the second half, and that's when Maryland went back to its attackmen. Phipps scored back-to-back goals to close out the third quarter as Maryland took an 11-3 lead.
In past seasons, Phipps has been mostly a feeder from behind goal. Now, instead of being the sixth option, he could possibly become No. 1.
"I think I could become the go-to guy," Phipps said. "It's a new role for me because I've played with a lot of great players in the past. Today, we just took advantage of some of the matchups UMBC gave us."
Despite the early goals by Sieverts, Maryland had only a 2-1 lead after the first quarter. But the Terps had a four-goal barrage to take a 6-2 lead with 6:12 left in the second quarter, and they held a 7-3 advantage at the half.
The game looked like it was going to be a blow-out when Maryland scored four unanswered goals in the third quarter to take an 11-3 lead. But UMBC rallied in the fourth to pull within 11-6 with 10:51 left in the game as the Retrievers outshot Maryland, 10-1, in the first 10 minutes of the final quarter.
But the surge was too late. For the first three quarters, Maryland simply outplayed UMBC, at times making the Retrievers look really bad.
"I thought our poles did a nice job of attacking their shorties, knowing when to come and when not to come," Cottle said. "Our second midfield stepped up. This gets us to win No. 5 going into the Mount St. Mary's game, and then we'll find out a lot about this team."
UMBC 1 2 0 4 -- 7
Maryland 2 5 4 0 -- 11
Goals: UMBC--Kimener 3, Hopmann 2, Westervelt, Ratcliffe. Maryland--Sieverts 3, Ritz 2, M. Phipps 2, Feifs 2, Megill, Gallagher. Assists: UMBC--Gallagher 2, Wimer, Hopmann, Kimener, Westervelt. Maryland--Groot 2, Sear 2, Creaney, Megill, Ritz. Saves: UMBC--Blevins 10. Maryland--B. Phipps 13.