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With 21 goals in two games, offense beginning to show signs of growth for UMBC men's lacrosse

UMBC has dropped two straight since capturing its first win of the season against Marist on March 12. But one silver lining appears to be some spark from the offense.

After scoring no more than nine goals in their first four games, the Retrievers (1-5) have scored 10 and 11 in losses to America East rivals Binghamton and Stony Brook, respectively. Ultimately, the production didn't alter the final outcomes, but coach Don Zimmerman was encouraged by the offensive outbursts.

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"I thought our offense played well," he said Tuesday morning. "I think we shared the ball, and we shot the ball well. Unfortunately, we got behind and had to play catch-up for three quarters. I've been around a long time and you dig yourself a hole and a lot of times, teams are able to almost get back to even, but it's hard getting over that hump. I thought our offense played its best game of the year. We're starting to move the ball, and I think the guys are starting to know how to play with one another, and hopefully, we're going to continue to move in that direction."

It's no coincidence that the unit's output has coincided with the return of senior attackman Nate Lewnes. The Arnold resident and St. Mary's graduate has recorded eight goals and three assists since returning from a three-game absence caused by a bout of mono, but Zimmerman said the offense's health has been aided by the development of younger players on that side of the field.

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"Things take time," he said. "Don't forget we're playing some young freshmen who are gaining valuable experience every time out. We've got Nate Lewnes back, and last week was his full week of practice. He came back for Binghamton on two days' practice, and now he's back and practicing full time. So that really helps as well. I think it's a combination of having everybody healthy and our younger guys growing into their positions."

UMBC figures to be significant underdogs against No. 9 Johns Hopkins (4-3) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville. But Zimmerman said this is the type of challenge players eagerly accept.

"What a great opportunity," he said. "We're playing Johns Hopkins who has a terrific team, and we're playing them at home during the week and under the lights. These are the kinds of games your kids dream of playing. So we want our guys to be excited about playing and put our best foot forward and keep working to put together a complete 60-minute game."


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