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Sophomores Mason Edwards, Nick Dupuis lift UMBC men’s lacrosse to 8-7 overtime win against Mount St. Mary’s

A pair of sophomores from a high school powerhouse in Northern Virginia provided the heroics Saturday afternoon for the UMBC men’s lacrosse program.

Nick Dupuis, an attackman, scored the game-tying goal with 16.6 seconds left in regulation, and Mason Edwards, a short-stick defensive midfielder, added the winning goal just six seconds into overtime to propel the host Retrievers to an 8-7 decision over Mount St. Mary’s at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville.

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Dupuis and Edwards had spent their prep careers at St. Stephen’s/St. Agnes, winning three of four Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association tournament championships during their time there until they graduated in 2019. They helped the Saints extend a dominant run with the school capturing seven titles between 2010 and 2019.

On Saturday, they capped a four-goal run over the game’s final 3:08 to help lift UMBC climb out of a three-goal deficit and win a season opener for the first time since 2018. (The Retrievers began the campaign seven days later than originally planned after a game against St. Joseph’s on Feb. 20 was canceled because of coronavirus issues within the Hawks program.)

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“They produced when we needed them the most,” Retrievers coach Ryan Moran said. “They were super talented players in high school. … They are guys that, even as freshmen last year, were producing. It was just a season that was cut short. So at least on our team, we know what they can do, and now they’re just getting opportunities to do it.”

After an errant pass between junior midfielder Connor McMahon and senior midfielder Luke Frankeny resulted in the Mountaineers’ 22nd turnover of the game, UMBC set up a play designed for an offensive player to attack a short-stick defensive midfielder. That developed into Dupuis leaving junior Noah Daniels behind the net, curling the left post, and beating senior goalkeeper Dylan Furnback high for the goal that knotted the score at 7.

“The object was to just try to find the best matchup and attack it with about 15 seconds to go,” Dupuis said. “I kind of made just one heavy move, got my step, and finished the goal. … I was always do a little fake that I like to do, which is fake high, fake low, and then go high. Just get him to show that stick low and finish it over the head.”

On the opening faceoff of overtime, Retrievers sophomore Alex Poma flipped the ball forward into the air. Edwards snatched the ball out of midair, carried the ball down the right alley, and bounced the ball over Furnback (a game-high 10 saves) for the game-winner.

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“I found a lane, and we talked all week about being a threat and that if they’re not going to play you, take it,” Edwards said. “That’s what I did.”

Moran said he anticipated Edwards’ aggressive play.

“He was a very talented offensive player when he was in high school, and he might end up playing offense for us later on in his career,” he said. “But right now, we had to get him on the field.”

Unsurprisingly, Edwards and Dupuis said they were ecstatic for one another.

“It was cool to see Nick score,” Edwards said. “That was pretty exciting for me. And I know he felt the same way when I scored. So it’s a great bond knowing that we come from the same high school, and I know that our teammates from high school are happy. They’ve already texted me a bunch.”

Asked to recite one of those messages, Edwards said, “Just like, ‘Wow, didn’t know you were a shooter.’”

Added Dupuis, who also had an assist: “I can’t really explain to you how that felt, seeing Mason finish off that last one in overtime. It was pretty cool to see how far we’ve both come and that we’re still here together and riding this thing out.”

In a game where senior attackmen Ryan Frawley, Trevor Patschorke (Severna Park) and Steven Zichelli (Severna Park) were limited to a combined two goals on seven shots, two assists and three turnovers, UMBC relied on plays from Edwards, Dupuis, and junior midfielder Brandon Galloway (three goals).

“We’re not strangers to these situations,” Dupuis said. “But I do see how it could be surprise with younger guys stepping up when it matters. That just shows that our coaching staff got us prepared to go this weekend, and we made it happen when it needed to happen.”

The Retrievers’ rally might not have been possible without the play of the defense. After surrendering five goals in the first half, the unit gave up only one goal in each of the last two quarters and only nine combined shots over the final 30 minutes of regulation. Senior goalie Tommy Lingner made seven saves, and Mount St. Mary’s was held scoreless over the last 8:42 of the game.

“We did a great job of bunkering down,” Moran said, adding praise for assistant coach Joe Bucci’s work with the defense. “We were getting first-time ground balls, and Tommy did a pretty good job in the net. Our offense for the first three quarters made playing defense miserable. We were coughing the ball up in the first 20 seconds of every possession. We played so much defense, and for us to still hold them go seven just shows a lot of heart. I give a lot of credit to Coach Bucci for having them ready to go. Offensively, we didn’t make it any easier for our defense, but they were able to hold tight for us.”

Junior attackman Justin Wieck and graduate student attackman CJ Stowell scored two goals each for the Mountaineers (1-3), who have dropped three straight games after opening the season with a 10-7 win against Delaware on Feb. 17.

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