Above the crowd

The Baltimore Sun

While much of the preseason attention paid to the UMBC men's lacrosse team centered on attackman Ryan Smith, midfielder Peet Poillon and goalkeeper Jeremy Blevins, Kyle Wimer was lost in the shuffle.

That suits the junior midfielder just fine.

"Obviously with Ryan's injury [torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee] and his great year for us, he'll be looked at, and Peet attracting attention is good because he was [an honorable mention] All-American," Wimer said. "So it's kind of nice. Maybe I'm under the radar."

Wimer will likely get a few more looks after he scored a career-high five goals in the No. 6 Retrievers' 14-9 win over Delaware on Saturday. Wimer was especially critical in providing goals that began and capped a 6-0 game-opening run.

Wimer finished last season second on the team in assists (17) and third in points (36), and he might have to continue his offensive prowess as UMBC acclimates to life without leading scorer Terry Kimener, who graduated after recording 26 goals and 22 assists last season.

One of Wimer's assets is his proclivity for dishing out and absorbing hits. Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman said Wimer is admired by his teammates for his tolerance for pain.

"Kyle's just a guy who is fearless, scrappy," Zimmerman said. "He dodges hard, and he's not afraid to keep going. A lot of his goals are because he's willing to take that extra two or three steps to really put himself in a position to get a high-quality shot, and when you do that, it's going to result in goals."

Wimer said he has suffered a couple of concussions and a broken arm, but he's comfortable with taking the pain.

"If I know that it's going to benefit the team if I get in there, I'll do it," he said. "If I get hit one time but we're moving the ball up the field or get the goal, then that's my role that will have to be taken."

First start

When Stevenson opens the season Saturday against Widener, junior goalie Geoff Hebert will make the first start of his career.

The Dulaney graduate is filling in for senior Eric Fleegle, who is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament after recording a .556 save percentage and an 8.58 goals-against average last season.

"I've been waiting a few years for this, and I'm so excited for this opportunity," Hebert said. "I've grown up a little, got my priorities straight and let [coach Paul Cantabene] know that I'm in for the long haul."

Et cetera

No. 20 Towson's path to a fifth NCAA tournament invitation in seven years includes 10 of 15 contests on the road, including a season-opening three-game stretch against No. 16 Loyola on Saturday, Air Force on Feb. 28 and No. 12 Denver on March 1. "It becomes a battle, and after last year's great showing, I think we've got enough stress on us as it is," Towson coach Tony Seaman said, alluding to last season's 5-9 record. "That's the way it worked out, and that's what we're going to go with. Like I told the kids, it's a chance to catch up on our movies on the bus."

Delaware junior faceoff specialist Tommy Lee has won 31 of 43 faceoffs in the Blue Hens' first two games. "When we recruited Tommy, we thought he had some outstanding potential," coach Bob Shillinglaw said of Lee, 5 feet 7, 165 pounds, who is being tutored by former faceoff wunderkind Alex Smith. ... Johns Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala, Loyola coach Charley Toomey, Seaman and Zimmerman will take part in a question-and-answer session today from noon to 1 p.m. at ESPN Zone in Baltimore.

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