UMBC's Scott Jones scores the game-winning goal against Terps goalie Niko Amato to upset No. 5 Maryland, 8-7.
UMBC's Scott Jones scores the game-winning goal against Terps goalie Niko Amato to upset No. 5 Maryland, 8-7. (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam)

The UMBC men's lacrosse team made sure it wasn't left with just another moral victory.

After rallying from fourth-quarter deficits only to lose to Robert Morris and No. 19 Fairfield, the Retrievers finally got their upset, stunning No. 5 Maryland, 8-7, before an announced 1,410 at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Tuesday night.

Sophomore midfielder Conor Finch recorded one goal and two assists and junior attackman Scott Jones scored both of his goals in a pivotal fourth quarter in which the Retrievers overcame a 6-3 deficit with five unanswered goals.

UMBC evened its record at 2-2 and ended any internal doubt about the team's ability to close out a formidable opponent.

"We have a team motto of finishing this year," said Finch, a Westminster native and Boys' Latin graduate. "We've had a lot of chances to finish this year and haven't gotten it done sometimes. So it was really important for us that once we got that lead, to make sure that we really grinded it and held on to it. So I thought our team came together really well and we were able to make a stand there."

Trailing 6-3 after three quarters, the Retrievers cut into the deficit when junior midfielder Scott Hopmann (St. Mary's) scored his first goal of the season courtesy of an assist from Finch with 11:19 left in the fourth period.

Finch scored his only goal with 9:24 remaining, then sophomore faceoff specialist Phil Poe won the ensuing faceoff and bounced a shot past sophomore goalkeeper Niko Amato (a season-low four saves) five seconds later to tie the score at 6.

UMBC took its first lead with 6:43 left when Jones accepted a pass from Finch and buried a shot from the right wing. And with Maryland junior long-stick midfielder Jesse Bernhardt serving a 60-second penalty for an illegal body check, Jones took a pass from freshman attackman Derek Bertolini and beat Amato from a sharp angle to the left of the cage with 6:08 remaining.

Maryland (3-1) got a goal from junior midfielder John Haus to trim the deficit to one with 1:31 left in the period. Bernhardt picked up a ground ball from the ensuing faceoff, but Retrievers junior goalie and Severn graduate Adam Cohen (eight saves) stoned junior attackman Owen Blye standing alone on the left wing.

Bernhardt forced junior attackman Joe Lustgarten into a turnover, but the Terps were whistled for too many men on the field and UMBC ran out the clock to cement the win.

Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman was pleased with the fight he witnessed in his players, especially just three days removed from Saturday's 10-9 overtime loss to Fairfield.

"Our guys bounced back from Saturday's disappointing loss and came back on Monday and picked it right back up," Zimmerman said. "You would've thought that we had won the game with the way these guys approached practice. Tonight, I thought we hung tough. We got down 3-0, but we didn't let them run away with it. Then they got another run early in the second half, and our guys were just determined — you could see it in their eyes — to do whatever it took to win this game."

Haus paced Maryland, which was seeking its second 4-0 start in three seasons, with two goals and one assist, but the offense waned in the second half en route to the unit's lowest production of the season.

"I think UMBC played a great game and we didn't come out with the focus that we needed to play with," said senior attackman Joe Cummings (Loyola High), who finished with just one goal. "So credit UMBC and credit the plays that they made. Credit their faceoff guy for winning faceoffs, and credit their goalie for making some big stops when he needed to. But we could've done a much better job as a team, and I think this is a lesson learned going forward, as much as it hurts."


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