UMBC preparing for "second season"

As far as coach Don Zimmerman is concerned, UMBC’s contest this Saturday against visiting Hartford is more than just the team’s opener in the America East. It also represents a new beginning.

“This is the second season,” Zimmerman said Tuesday. “We’re halfway through our schedule and now we go into conference play. Conference play is always something that we put a great deal of emphasis on. We want to do well in the conference. We’re starting off by playing the defending conference champion in Hartford, and they’re always a tough team. So we’ve asked the team to elevate their level of play and commitment to the game and be ready for five tough conference opponents.”

The Hawks have endured a Jeykll-and-Hyde season. The preseason favorite to capture the America East championship, Hartford lost five of its first six games. But the team has also won two of its last three contests and ranks first in Division I in points per game (22.2) and second in assists (8.9) and is tied for third in goals (13.3).

That’s why Zimmerman is expecting a motivated Hawks squad when they visit UMBC Stadium Saturday night.

“We have to be ready to face Hartford’s best game,” he said. “And when they’re playing their best game, they’re very tough.”

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