In their season opener, UMBC’s women’s lacrosse team fell 20-5 to their neighbors to the north – 19th ranked Towson University Tigers. Their impact is up for debate but the weather and referees quickly became supporting characters in this one sided match up.
The below 35-degree weather paired with sustained winds made for imperfect playing conditions, but rarely proved to be an an outwardly bruising issue. Though it would also be difficult to argue that they were entirely non-influential or inconsequential to the players on the pitch. The refs on the other hand took center stage, frequently stopping play and momentum for both squads. In one instance, calling three-second violations for what seemed to be 20 consecutive minutes, much to the dismay of UMBC Stadium attendees and both coaching staffs.
The Retrievers were never quite able to catch their footing in this outing as they never possessed a lead and conceded their first goal in just 51 seconds. The Tigers quickly expanded their lead to three before senior Sam Nolan and sophomore Sam Moeller responded with back to back free position scores. Towson then continued their dominance to a 10-4 at the half.
Towson’s sophomore Carly Tellekamp was a perpetual issue for UMBC as she racked up six goals to go along with an assist in the season’s debut game. The attackmen connected on 85 percent of her shot attempts and all seven of her shots were on target. Towson absolutely dominated draws and time of possession which clearly weighed heavily on the legs of the Retriever defense throughout the entirety of the match, allowing the Tigers to take 20 more shots than the Retrievers leading the total 37 to 17.
In the end, it was Towson’s defense that proved most problematic as their zone-like strategy frequently proved impenetrable when the squad was able to settle and stack the goal area. The Tigers did not cause an abundance of turnovers but their pressure was persistently tenacious and their ability to congest the scoring area depleted any confidence in shot attempts.
This ultimately caused a few errant shots and shot clock violations that seemingly deflated the UMBC attack. Towson’s goalie, sophomore Angie Benson also managed to save nearly 60 percent of shots thrown her way before being replaced by a backup goaltender.
While there are no normal moral victories for the Retrievers they showed glimpses of excellence against the 19th ranked team in the country. Nolan scored twice in her outing while junior Carolyn Jamison showed the offensive prowess that allowed her to lead the team in goals a season ago.
Jamison also netted two goals while frequently causing the Towson defense headaches with her array of highlight worthy moves and jukes. On one occasion, splitting two defensemen on her way to a shot on laser shot on goal, although it was ultimately saved by Towson’s goalie Benson.
The Retrievers will now have eight more games to gain confidence and momentum before the beginning of conference play. They will take on the University at Albany Great Danes in Albany on March 25 before facing the rest of their rivals just once.
UMBC will strive to improve on last year’s record as they wrapped up conference play at 3-3 which was good enough for 4th place marks. Tough opponents such as Towson will ultimately prove beneficial as they will have to compete with the Stony Brook University Seawolves that have historically dominated the America East and are currently ranked fifth in the nation.