Black and yellow balloons decorated the fence along the turf on April 20 in celebration of UMBC women’s lacrosse team’s senior night. The team played their fifth conference game against the UMass Lowell River Hawks and their last home game of the season as they travel to the University of Albany on April 27 to play the final game of the regular season.
A ceremony was held before the game in honor of the seniors who would be playing in their final home game. Each senior walked to centerfield, accompanied by their families, to receive their framed jersey and a bouquet of yellow flowers as well as hugs from their coaches. Honors for each player were announced over the chorus of cheers from their teammates and the UMBC crowd, some noted players being: graduate-student defender Lauren McDonald, senior captains defender Jenna Baverman and midfielder Catherine Simms, and senior-defender Kayla Renehan.
The cheers did not die down as the game began, and the Retrievers were feeding off it. Within the first five minutes of the half, sophomore attacker Lily Kennedy scored and her goal was quickly followed by another from Simms with an assist from senior defender Grayson Corbett. With the score sitting at 2-0, sophomore-attacker Olivia Docal scored after earning a free shot due to a penalty by the River Hawks inside the goal arch. Junior midfielder Zoë Pekins made a goal through the legs of the River Hawks’ goalie soon after, leaving the Retrievers up 4-0 all in the first ten minutes of the half.
The Retrievers continued to dominate for the rest of the half with the River Hawks only having five shots at the goal. They finally got one in, breaking the Retrievers’ goal streak with three minutes left in the half, leaving the score at 4-1. Corbett returned the goal, powering through the River Hawks’ defense to keep the Retrievers’ lead at four points, ending the half with a score of 5-1.
The second half saw more action from the River Hawks, the team seeming to have woken up during halftime. The Retrievers were not as dominant, having lost the focus they had during the first half. Even with the Retrievers’ defense pushing back the River Hawk’s offense, their midfielders and attackers could not keep the River Hawks at bay, leading to a back and forth between the teams as they each traded goals.
When Corbett scored within the first three minutes of the second half, the River Hawks matched it to bring the score to 6-2. Kennedy scored again only to have UMass get another one in the net, bringing both teams up by a point to a game of 7-3. Senior attacker Payton Van Kirk scored thanks to an assist from McDonald; the River Hawks returned it, outrunning the Retriever defense to bring the game to 8-4. A foul on the Retrievers for physical play gave the River Hawks a free shot at goal, the River Hawks converted pushing the game to 8-5.
It was not until Corbett scored a goal, bringing the game to 9-5, that the Retrievers finally regained control of the game. Goals by McDonald and Simms closed out the game as the Retrievers won with a final score of 11-5.
This win meant a lot to the senior Retrievers as their time wearing a UMBC jersey rapidly comes to a close. For Corbett, the team, which has become her family, is what she will miss most after graduation. The dedication that each member of the team has is not only something that helped them win against the River Hawks, but also something that binds them together. “Every girl, whether they’re a senior or not, loves this game and I think that that’s something special here to UMBC,” Corbett commented. “We genuinely want to see everyone succeed and I think that that’s something unique from other teams,” she continued.
Having their senior night finish on a win is something that the team wanted. “I know that they [the seniors] love the game more than anything, so I think that made it all the sweeter coming out and winning our last game on our home turf here,” said Corbett.
With this win against the River Hawks, the Retrievers have earned a spot in the America East women’s lacrosse tournament. Currently, they are seeded fourth in the conference, though their game against Albany will determine their standing in the tournament.