During a timeout with 1:31 left in the fourth overtime period of Saturday’s game against Stony Brook, UMBC men’s lacrosse coach Ryan Moran made an observation to his players.
“We had talked in the huddle about how someone was just going to have to make a play,” he recalled Wednesday. “I’ve been in enough of these games where if you just play six guys being tentative all the time, usually you end up being the loser. So at some point, someone was going to have to see an opportunity to leverage and take it. I’m glad Nick did.”
“Nick” is Nick Dupuis, the sophomore midfielder who scored the winning goal 22 seconds later to lift the Retrievers to a thrilling 13-12 win in what was the longest game in program history.
Dupuis, whose third and final goal gave him a game-high five points, said he remembered Moran’s comment in the huddle.
“I think my mindset was kind of the same from the first overtime to the fourth,” he said. “I think that was just my only good opportunity to get a good solid chance on the goal. I didn’t want to force anything before that. So I thought we drew up a good play to get me that look.”
Dupuis is beginning to develop a reputation as the team’s top producer in big moments. In addition to the winning goal Saturday, he had the game-tying goal with 16.6 seconds left in regulation against Mount St. Mary’s on Feb. 27 in a game that UMBC won in overtime, 8-7, on sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Mason Edwards’ goal just six seconds into the extra session.
Dupuis sought to share the credit with senior goalkeeper Tommy Lingner (16 saves) and the rest of the defense that kept the Seawolves at bay until his heroics.
“It was pretty cool to have been able to do that, but it could’ve been anyone else,” he said. “I was just in the right place at the right time. I’m glad I was able to finish it off.”
Dupuis leads the offense in points with seven and is tied with senior attackman Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) for the team lead in assists with three. Moran said he saw signs of Dupuis’ potential when he scored two goals in four games last spring before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the season.
“Obviously, he’s performed when we’ve needed him to,” Moran said. “I say this in the most complimentary way: I don’t think there’s a lack of confidence with Nick and what he can do. I’m hoping those are some early defining moments for him.”
Off the schneid
The Johns Hopkins women’s bid to upset then-No. 20 Ohio State last weekend did not look promising after graduate student midfielder Lexi Souder (Marriotts Ridge) was removed from the starting lineup because of a separated shoulder sustained during warm-ups before Friday’s game.
But the Blue Jays picked up one-goal wins on Friday and Sunday to end a run of three season-opening losses to No. 3 Northwestern and Rutgers and complete the two-game sweep of the Buckeyes (1-5).
“It wasn’t pretty, but I think it was sheer grit and determination and kind of a galvanizing of the team this weekend based off the really challenging losses to Northwestern and Rutgers, two really athletic, fast, well-coached teams,” Johns Hopkins coach Janine Tucker said. “This was when we had to make a choice, do we want to be in this thing or not? And the girls just put their heads down and said, ‘Let’s go.’ That’s what I saw, a dig-deep, gritty, determined, got-to-fight-to-the-bitter-end mindset. These are two wins that I will remember for a very long time.”
Shoremen support Shirk
Any trepidation Jeff Shirk may have felt about informing the Washington College men on Monday about his intention to leave the school on May 31 as its head lacrosse coach and assistant athletic director to become the athletic director at The Pine School in Hobe Sound, Florida, disappeared minutes into the meeting.
“I talked to the captains first and then pulled the team in, and it was all positive,” he said. “They were a little bit in shock, but once they started thinking about it and we began having a conversation, I think they really understood and respected the reasons as to what I was doing. The way I approached it was, I’m a senior now. Just like those guys in the senior class, I want to have as much fun as I can in the next couple of months and take full advantage of this opportunity, and I think we kind of got excited about it as a group by the end of our talk. So they took it well.”
The 11th lacrosse coach in Shoremen history, Shirk, a former short-stick defensive midfielder at Maryland, has amassed an 84-69 record, guided the program to Centennial Conference regular-season titles in 2012 and 2014 and a league tournament championship in 2014, and led the school to three consecutive NCAA Division III tournament appearances from 2012-14.
Abby Hormes, a senior attacker who grew up in Fallston and graduated from John Carroll, set the High Point women’s record for career goals in the Panthers’ 17-13 setback to Vanderbilt on Sunday. Hormes, who earned the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Week honor, scored three times to raise her career total to 151, eclipsing the previous school mark of 148 set by Erica Perrotta from 2015-18.
… In addition to Hormes, a pair of Bel Air graduates took home Big South awards. Winthrop sophomore midfielder Lauren Asher was named the Defensive Player of the Week after racking up seven draw controls, four caused turnovers, four ground balls, one goal and one assist in Saturday’s 15-14 loss to Kennesaw State. And Radford midfielder Ava Goeller totaled four caused turnovers, three goals, three ground balls and one assist in two losses to Liberty and George Mason. … After winning 20 of 26 faceoffs in Saturday’s 12-10 loss at Drexel, redshirt freshman Shane Santora became the first Towson men’s player to win at least 15 draws in a road game since Alex Woodall went 22-of-25 at Fairfield on April 6, 2019.