Freshman class for UMBC men’s lacrosse contributed earlier than planned

The 14-member freshman class for the UMBC men’s lacrosse team was the largest group on the roster. So perhaps it should not be a surprise that many of the rookies made an impact quickly.

Five of the first-year players finished the 2018 season as full-time starters. Former Severna Park attackman Steven Zichelli (17 goals, 10 assists) and goalkeeper Tommy Lingner (7.33 goals-against average, .541 save percentage) were named to the America East’s All-Rookie team, and former Archbishop Spalding attackman Brett Baucia (4 G, 4 A) and midfielders Ben Keller (6 G) and Michael Zichelli (4 G), a Severna Park grad, emerged as starters.

Attackman Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) had nine goals and two assists in four starts before a torn ACL kept him out of the remainder of the season, and long-stick midfielder Nick Doyle added six ground balls and one caused turnover as the top backup. Coach Ryan Moran was pleased with the freshmen’s play, but said their emergence was unplanned.

“I wasn’t expecting that many of them to play,” he said. “They definitely did a great job. And when you look at it, it’s mostly on the offensive side – guys like Michael Zichelli, Brett Baucia, Steven Zichelli, Ben Keller. There were certainly some kids that we thought could be good players, and going into January, they were still in the mix to earn a spot and earn an opportunity. With injury and shuffling some pieces around, those guys were thrust into large playing roles early on in their careers, and I thought they responded really well.”

Lingner’s development was timely. Although senior David Pisanic (Boys’ Latin) had opened the season as the starter, Lingner eventually overtook his older teammate and started the last five games.

“He knew he was going to have a steady force in front of him that was going to give up the shots we want to give up, and he was going to have to be consistent and not inconsistent and make the necessary saves and hopefully steal one or two, which is pretty much what he did in every game when he had the opportunity to play,” Moran said.

With only four major contributors graduating last month, the freshmen will be relied on to compete for the right to fill those holes and improve their games next season. Moran is hoping the experience they gained in 2018 will be a springboard for greater success.

“I think in the long term, it’s going to help us,” he said. “It’s developing some depth and some confidence for those guys and hopefully foster some really good competition when we get the new guys coming in and other guys get healthy.”

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