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UMBC men's lacrosse clinging to hope that it can still qualify for America East tournament

Saturday's 9-8 overtime loss at Hartford put UMBC in a 0-3 hole in the America East, two games behind No. 14 Stony Brook and Binghamton for the fourth and final spot in the conference tournament.

But coach Don Zimmerman said the Retrievers (4-6 overall) continue to believe that they can contend for a berth in their 12th league tournament in 12 years if they can get a win against visiting Vermont (3-9, 1-2) on Saturday at noon.

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"I know that we're still in it," Zimmerman  said Wednesday morning. "So our approach has been, let's get ready to get back to work and go out there on Saturday when we host Vermont and be a better ball club than we were on Saturday up at Hartford. We've had two good practices, which to me indicates that the guys are still intense and want to keep playing and see if we can make our way into the tournament."

UMBC might have history on its side. In seven of the past nine America East tournaments, a team with three conference losses grabbed the fourth seed.

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"As long as we're still in it – and even beyond that – we still have a fighting chance," Zimmerman said when told of the trend. "So let's go out there and fight and get a win. It's one at a time obviously. We can't look ahead. This is like a playoff type situation where you have to win and I think our players know that."

Zimmerman said this is the first time that the program has lost back-to-back league games. That distinction hasn't sat well with the players, but Zimmerman said he doesn't want any anger to cloud their decision-making.

"If we're angry, it's at ourselves," he said. "It wouldn't be bad if we are angry at ourselves, and I think this team is. But I'd rather us play smart and make good decisions and do the little things well. If being angry helps us do that, then fine. If it hurts us doing that, we don't want that. We want to play a smart, together, team game with everybody on the same page and doing the little things, and however we can get that done, so be it."


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