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UMBC men's lacrosse planning to start two freshmen in Saturday's season opener at Maryland

The loss of five starters almost guaranteed that UMBC would feature several new faces at key positions in 2014. Two of those faces will belong to freshmen.

Coach Don Zimmerman announced Tuesday that redshirt freshman Connor Gordon will start at goalie when the Retrievers open the season at No. 11 Maryland on Saturday at 12 p.m. at Byrd Stadium in College Park.

Junior James Maxwell and freshman Ruston Souder were also competing for the right to replace junior Wes DiRito, who will sit this season to recover from foot surgery. But Zimmerman said Gordon stood out.

“I just think that right now, he is our most consistent goalkeeper,” Zimmerman said. “He’s playing good, consistent lacrosse. I like the way he handles himself in the goal. I just feel like he’s the guy right now to start. After the fall season, he had the edge, and I think he’s maintained that edge going into the Maryland game.”

Gordon will have the unenviable task of trying to ward off a Terps offense that erupted for 16 scores in a 13-goal rout of Mount St. Mary’s last Saturday. Zimmerman said that he will need some assistance from a defense that will likely include sophomore Zach Esser and juniors Mike Dahl and Ian Gray on close defense, junior Seth Mackin at long-stick midfielder, and juniors Kevin McDonough and Tim Lang at short-stick defensive midfielder.

“I think our defense needs to help him by understanding what our scheme is and playing together and playing as a unit and not giving up a lot of high-quality shots and allow Connor to see the ball and make saves on shots where he’s expecting them to come from,” Zimmerman said. “But look, it’s the first game and we’re going to have breakdowns, and that’s when a goalkeeper needs to step up and make some big saves for you.”

Zimmerman also said that freshman Max Maxwell will join senior Matt Gregoire and sophomore Nate Lewnes as starters on attack. Junior Ty Kashur could also see considerable playing time.

“Max did a nice job in the fall and right now, we have him slated to start,” Zimmerman said. “But I think Ty Kashur, our fourth attackman, has really come on and is playing well for us. I don’t think we can play all three attackmen for 60 minutes. They’re going to need a spell, and certainly we feel confident that Ty can come in and play that role.”

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