While the UMBC men's lacrosse team has labored to score goals, its defense has been solid in limiting them.
The Retrievers (4-7, 2-2 America East) rank eighth in Division I in fewest goals allowed per game at 8.1. Only three opponents have reached the 10-goal mark against UMBC, which has given up a combined nine goals in back-to-back wins against No. 2 Albany and Binghamton.
Coach Ryan Moran cited several contributing factors, such as defensive coordinator Jamison Koesterer's tutelage, the players' grasp of the schemes, and the development of freshman goalkeeper Tommy Lingner.
"I don't think you can say it's any one thing," Moran said. "I think it's just a combination of being successful at all of them. It's an all-encompassing philosophy that starts on the ball and with on-ball pressure and staying on people's hands and great off-ball communication and understanding our opponent and what we're going to do schematically to defend that opponent. That approach is instilled every week through the coaching staff."
The defense has been aided by a team-wide effort to avoid penalties. UMBC has been involved in only 14 man-down opportunities, the lowest total in the nation.
"We don't want to foul, and there are rules for a reason," Moran said. "We follow the rules the way they're written, and we organize our practices and drills for improvement based on what the rules are. We don't want to give teams opportunities to be six-on-five, especially when you're a tough team to score against six-on-six."
No nostalgia for Maryland
The No. 1 Terps (10-1, 3-0 Big Ten) will welcome Ohio State (6-6, 1-2) to Maryland Stadium in College Park on Sunday. It will mark the teams' first meeting since a three-game series last spring capped by Maryland's 9-6 victory in the NCAA tournament final, but coach John Tillman said he has no plans to remind his players about their 2-1 record against the Buckeyes.
"Our guys have so much respect for them, and they're a really good team, and we lost to them last year," he said. "So I think most importantly, the respect level will be through the roof here just in terms of knowing how good they are and knowing that it's a Big Ten game, and we've just had two one-goal games, and here's another really good team rolling in here. We realize that we have to play much better than we played on Sunday to be successful. If we played like we did on Sunday, we will not win this Sunday."
Slow starts haunting Johns Hopkins
Lethargic first halves in wins against Virginia and Rutgers did not hurt the No. 7 Blue Jays (8-3, 2-1 Big Ten), but they could not overcome a 10-5 halftime deficit in a 14-12 setback at No. 11 Penn State (8-4, 2-1) on Saturday. Coach Dave Pietramala said he and his assistants have tried to reverse that trend by changing practices so that players dive into full-team drills immediately after stretching.
"We have got to play more disciplined and with a greater sense of urgency from start to finish," he said. "It seems like we don't play with that urgency sometimes until we get punched in the mouth and then we respond. But in this case, it was too little, too late. … So we continue to still work on that."
Scoreboard watching for Navy
The No. 14 Midshipmen (8-4, 7-1 Patriot League) are in the enviable position of knowing that no matter what happens Friday night, they have already clinched a bye into the conference tournament semifinals April 27 and could even host the semifinals and final. That scenario would unfold only if No. 8 Loyola Maryland (10-3, 6-1) loses to Army West Point (5-6, 2-5), but coach Rick Sowell insisted that he does not have a dog in the fight.
"Whatever happens on Friday happens," he said as the team prepares to face No. 9 Syracuse (7-4) on Saturday. "We're not rooting for this team over that team. Obviously, if Army were to be beat Loyola, we would get the No. 1 seed. But to me, it just doesn't matter. However the chips fall, they fall. At the very least, we'll be playing someone on that Friday, whether it's here or at Loyola. At this point, we're just focusing our attention on Syracuse for this coming Saturday."
Road woes for Mount St. Mary’s
Saturday's 15-14 win against Hobart was a much-needed salve for the Mountaineers (4-8, 1-3 Northeast Conference), who must face league leader Saint Joseph's (7-3, 4-0) on Saturday. The challenge might be even more difficult considering the team has lost its past nine games on the road and has not won a game away from Emmitsburg since March 28, 2017, when that squad defeated VMI.
"We've had some tough losses on the road, but I'm still pleased with their ability to get off the bus and take the field and battle," coach Tom Gravante said. "Slow starts obviously hurt us at Sacred Heart and Bucknell, but I'm going to do everything I can to prepare them and make sure that our approach is where it needs to be so that we can be successful on Saturday."
Towson learning to deal with success
The Tigers' 8-4 loss at No. 18 Massachusetts on Saturday prevented them from collecting their second set of back-to-back wins this season. The outcome was particularly frustrating considering the offense erupted for 17 goals in an eight-goal rout of Drexel eight days earlier.
"Our players are learning how to be successful and how to handle success after a strong offensive performance and understanding what we did during the week in practice and outside of practice to prepare ourselves to play at that level," coach Shawn Nadelen said. "We have to be able to do that on a consistent basis and improve upon it, and that was something we didn't do that to keep ourselves moving forward. That's on us as a staff to make sure that happens, and the players have to have accountability towards that as well."
Washington College jockeying for position
Tuesday night's 14-8 win against Muhlenberg lifted the Shoremen (8-4) to 3-2 in the Centennial Conference and sole possession of fourth place in the league. They can assure themselves of a spot in the four-team conference tournament with two wins in their last three league games, but that includes meetings with No. 10 Franklin & Marshall (10-2, 4-1) on Saturday and No. 3 Gettysburg (13-1, 6-0) on April 28. But coach Jeff Shirk is undaunted.
"Every game's a challenge, and the way I look at it and the way I'm going to approach it with the guys is, it's an opportunity," he said. "… So I'm going to go with the same approach that, 'Hey, Franklin and Marshall and Gettysburg are two very good teams, and they're very good every single year. But we know who they are and we know what we need to do to be successful. So let's take it as an opportunity to get a quality win if we play the way we're supposed to win.' "