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Men’s lacrosse faces off for first time without legendary coach Zimmerman

For a second straight season, 2016’s UMBC men’s lacrosse failed to qualify for postseason play. Soon afterwards, head coach Don Zimmerman announced his retirement after serving 30 years on the men’s lacrosse coaching staff, leaving a large and intimidating role to fill within the department.

Zimmerman’s retirement comes after serving as the head lacrosse coach at UMBC for 23 years. He retired with 288 wins under his belt, which at the time of his retirement, ranked eighth among active coaches and 26th of all time. In addition he also boasted an impressive .591 winning percentage. Zimmerman’s retirement leaves a rather gaping hole in need of a worthy successor.

Enter Ryan Moran, the new head coach of men’s lacrosse, who brings a bit of national pedigree to UMBC. Moran joins the Retrievers after serving as an assistant coach with Loyola University Maryland, who finished their 2016 season in the national semifinals.

Last season, Moran’s Loyola squad averaged an impressive 11.2 goals per game, which they expanded to 12.2 in their final 10 games of the season (a stretch of games that saw them going 9-1).

This is a field of interest for UMBC as last season they finished sixth out of seven teams in the America East Conference, in goals (126) and goals per game (9). University of Binghamton was the next highest goal scorer with 132. A sizable gap is seen between the conference’s top scorers and UMBC, as Hartford University was ranked fourth with 195 goals last season, with the remaining three teams all having over 200 goals last season.

Moran also assisted in the outstanding debut season of freshman Pat Spencer, a second team All-American who ranked second in the country in points (89) and assists (52). His points total tied the school’s record. This bodes well for the seven incoming freshmen on UMBC’s roster hoping to make a splash in their opening season.

Underclassmen will need to come up big for UMBC as the Retrievers enter the season without last year’s leading scorer for both the team and AEC, Nate Lewnes. However, UMBC does have senior leadership this season from Max Maxwell who ranked ninth in the AEC last season in total points and second in assists.

The Retrievers were voted to finish the season in fifth place in a recent America East Coaches Poll, putting them just on the outside of qualifying for the America East Championship Tournament. The Retrievers have not played in the tourney since 2014, when they advanced to the finals for the second straight year under Zimmerman. Both years ended in a loss against the University at Albany.

UMBC will open the season on Feb. 4 against defending national champions the University of North Carolina.