UMBC will close out the 2016 campaign when No. 5 Albany visits UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Retrievers (4-9 overall and 1-4 in the America East) would love nothing more than to upset the Great Danes (10-2, 5-0) and inject a little luster into what has been a disappointing and frustrating season.
The program will also honor seven seniors in attackmen Nate Lewnes (St. Mary's), Drew Borsody and Mark Monroe, midfielder Jack Gannon, defenseman Zach Esser (Fallston), short-stick defensive midfielder Steve Winsor and goalkeeper Connor Gordon.
For the players who are eligible to return next spring, Saturday's contest is a chance to make a deeper impression with coach Don Zimmerman and the rest of his staff.
"It's our next game," he said Tuesday morning. "Is it our last game? Yes, but it's our next game. It's an opportunity to play an excellent team and a league opponent and really put our best foot forward. ...We'll be playing for our seniors, but for the returning guys, the younger guys, it's definitely an opportunity for them to show that they understand it's an opportunity for them to go out and play well and help the team win and in doing so, set the stage for next year."
Nineteen underclassmen have started at least one game for UMBC, but some have slid back to reserve roles. And there are many other younger players who haven't gotten much playing time. But Zimmerman said Saturday should not be viewed as a tryout for those players.
"They get to show that in practice, they get to show that every day," he said. "This is our next game, and we're not going to all of a sudden make wholesale changes. We certainly want to do our best to recognize our seniors, but other than that, it's our next game. ...It's still the 2016 season, it's not the 2017 season."