A fast finish made up for a slow start for the UMBC men’s lacrosse team.
Seven unanswered goals over the final 16:19 propelled the Retrievers to a 10-5 victory over visiting Towson before an announced 957 at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville on Tuesday night.
UMBC improved to 3-1 for the first time since 2009 and defeated the Tigers for the first time since a 10-9 victory in 2011, ending a seven-game losing skid. But a positive outcome did not seem likely after Towson appeared to be in control through a significant portion of the first three quarters.
“I was proud of the offense for just not getting too down,” Retrievers coach Ryan Moran said. “I thought we generated some pretty good opportunities in the first half. I think we hit a record [number of] pipes since I’ve been the coach here, and sometimes that can really get in your head. But I didn’t really see any frustration. I just saw a lot of guys willing to get the next play and luckily they started to fall for us a little bit.”
Trailing 5-3, the Retrievers’ burst began when sophomore attackman Trevor Patschorke collected a rebound of a shot by senior attackman Brett McIntyre that rang off the post and scored with 1:19 left in the third quarter. UMBC then converted two extra-man opportunities to take a 6-5 lead with 14:37 remaining in the fourth.
The offense then scored three times in a 2:03 span with the last two coming from junior midfielder Steven Zichelli within 51 seconds of each other.
After shooting only 3-for-28 (10.7%) in the first 43:41, the Retrievers scored seven times on their last 15 attempts (46.7%).
“I don’t think it was anything not working. I just think we didn’t finish opportunities that we had,” said Patschorke, a Severna Park resident and graduate who scored a game-high four goals. “On a short week like this, it’s definitely hard to prepare for a team. … It just took a few minutes for us to really start clicking, and then they started falling.”
Zichelli, another Severna Park resident and graduate, chipped in two goals and one assist, and freshman faceoff specialist Alex Poma won 13 of 18 faceoffs and picked up five ground balls.
Entering the game, UMBC had scored only three times in 16 extra-man opportunities. But the man-up offense scored twice in three chances that fueled that game-ending 7-0 burst.
Patschorke credited Moran and volunteer assistant coach Craig Chick with refining the unit’s priorities and emphasizing aspects such as moving the ball quicker to open up an opposing man-down defense. Zichelli, who finished with two goals and one assist, said the players are emboldened by the work they’ve done despite the earlier troubles in the first three games.
“I think we’re pretty confident out there,” he said. “We know our looks, and we’re pretty confident in each other with sharing the ball. So I’d say we’ve got a lot of confidence.”
For the second straight game and the third time this season, Towson failed to reach the 10-goal mark in a game. In fact, the five goals were the fewest the program had scored against the Retrievers since 2009, when that squad absorbed a 14-4 walloping.
Senior attackman Brody McLean paced the Tigers (0-5) with two goals, and sophomore midfielder Austin Stewart added two assists. Senior attackman Jon Mazza was benched for the first half because of academic reasons, and senior midfielder Jake McLean missed his third consecutive game because of an unspecified upper-body injury.
But coach Shawn Nadelen’s focus was on the players who were present that did not execute the offensive strategy.
“Early in the game, I don’t think the guys were as engaged with understanding and continuing to stay consistent with our game plan,” he said. “We got lazy with the ball, we got lazy with our shots, and I didn’t think we did a great job of challenging their goalie — again. We’re not staying fundamentally sound in our shooting.”
For the second game in a row, UMBC won the faceoff battle as Poma claimed 13 of 18 draws and shared top ground ball honors with sophomore short-stick defensive midfielder Keith Dukes (five each).
On the flipside, Towson’s woes at the X continue. Junior Joey Chestnutt won only four of 17 faceoffs and was guilty of two violations that led to two man-down situations.
“I tried to get Joey to kick the ball wider so our wings could have a better play at it to make it more one-on-one, two-on-one type of stuff instead of having it go three-on-three,” Nadelen said. “Poma, their guy is really good. There’s no doubt about that. Joey didn’t help himself with a couple procedures at times, especially in the second half with them getting a couple penalties off of that. That’s just a lack of focus and not doing what he’s capable of doing.”
No. 12 GEORGETOWN@TOWSON
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