Close enough is not enough for UMBC

UMBC may be 1-2 this season, but two of those losses have been by a grand margin of three goals. Dropping decisions of 10-8 to Robert Morris Feb. 18 and 10-9 in overtime to No. 20 Fairfield on Saturday might be moral victories for a program that is looking to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009, but that’s not the approach coach Don Zimmerman is taking.

“We’re close, but we’ve got to find ways to do the little things better, and that’s what we’ve been working on,” he said Monday afternoon. “It’s tough to lose a game no matter what the score is. But we just have to find a way to tighten things up a little bit and give ourselves an opportunity to win these close ball games.”

In both setbacks, the Retrievers rallied from fourth-quarter deficits to tie the score, but couldn’t pull out the win in the end. The team’s fight has impressed Zimmerman, but he’d like to see the players not get into a hole.

“Whenever you fight and claw your way back, that’s always a positive. It just shows there’s no quit,” he said. “The key is not to get yourself in a position where you have to do that. I have no issues with the guys as far as their attitudes and willingness to play an entire lacrosse game. It’s just that we have to understand that the first minute is as important as the last minute.”

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