UMBC opened the season with a 17-6 loss to No. 1 and reigning NCAA Division I champion North Carolina on Saturday. It played without starting defenseman Garrett Hasken, who is trying to heal a stress fracture in his shin.
The Odenton resident, who graduated from DeMatha, insisted that he will return for his senior year soon.
"It's just a stress fracture," he said, adding that the only treatment is rest. "It's kind of up to my body. I don't see it lasting a whole season or even half of the season or anything like that. I'm doing everything I can to get back as soon as I possibly can."
The 6-foot, 205-pound Hasken posted career highs in ground balls (18) and caused turnovers (five) in only eight starts and would have improved on those numbers if not for an unspecified head injury that sidelined him for six consecutive games. He also won 36.2 percent (21-of-58) of the faceoffs he took.
New coach Ryan Moran said he had been hoping that Hasken would get cleared by the team's medical staff in time to play against the Tar Heels.
"When you find out you don't have Garrett Hasken a day-and-a-half before your opener, that wasn't exactly convenient, but that's life," Moran said. "That's one of those many, many fires. So yeah, losing one of your starting defensemen two days before your season opener changes a lot. It changes your matchups, it changes how you guard certain people, it changes how you clear. But those are the breaks. A lot of teams have fallen victim to the injury bug, and we're no different. You've got to move on, and it's the next guy up."
Freshman Nick Griffin, a Marriottsville resident and Liberty graduate, filled in for Hasken, scooping up two ground balls. Griffin could start again for the Retrievers (0-1) on Saturday at No. 9 Johns Hopkins (1-0).
Hasken said he has not even considered the idea of sitting out this season and applying for a medical redshirt to play in 2018. Similarly, he dismissed the notion that the defense sorely missed his presence.
"I don't think the result on Saturday had anything to do with me not playing," he said. "I think the guys did a really good job, but we ran into a team that was just playing at a higher level than we were on that day. … I think the guys did a really good job without me being out there."