Over the last year or so, UMBC has had great success in its athletics department. From basketball to track and field and even softball, it seems that winning has become contagious, continuing on with the men’s lacrosse team. The Retrievers recently went on a tear as they dominated the playoff bracket beating Stony Brook and Vermont to claim the title of America East Champions. As the newly crowned champions, they were awarded a spot in the NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Tournament. They would face their first challenge in a game against Marist that would determine who would take on the number one seed of Penn State. The Retrievers took care of business and moved on to face Penn State after a 14-8 victory over Marist.
Before the start of the game, the field was drenched in a downpour of rain which continued throughout most of the game. In the battle for possession, Penn State made it a point to keep UMBC on the defensive side early and often. However, within the first two minutes of the game, UMBC took the opportunity to strike first with a goal scored by junior-attackman Ryan Frawley. Unfortunately, Penn State took that personally and began to score goals at an alarming rate. The Nittany Lions tossed in four goals against the Retriever defense before Frawley, once again, scored an unassisted goal with a slingshot to make the score 4-2. Both teams would trade goals on the ensuing possessions to keep the gap within two goals.
As the first quarter came to a close Penn State added two more goals, keeping them in the lead by four, until sophomore-midfielder Michael Zichelli scored with less than a minute left in the quarter to trail 7-4. The second quarter had Penn State’s prints all over it. The Nittany Lions went on a scoring spree, showing why they were the number one ranked team in the tournament as they scored eight goals in over 11 minutes of play. Face-offs continued to be the Achilles heel of the Retrievers as they could only manage to win 1 out of 23 attempts in the first half. Although the Retrievers managed to force 10 turnovers in the first half, it amounted to nothing as Penn State was able to keep their offense at bay with their physicality in man-to-man defense. UMBC managed to tack on two goals from junior-attackman Brett McIntyre and sophomore-attackman Trevor Patschorke, making the score 15-6 at halftime.
In the second half, there was very little UMBC could do to combat this juggernaut of an offense. Penn State’s ball movement made it increasingly difficult for the Retriever’s defenders to stay in front of the ball, and eight of the nine goals scored in the quarter were by Penn State. The one lone goal for UMBC was scored by McIntyre who found an open space and managed to get a scoop shot into the goal. UMBC was hit with two penalties for slashing, which also contributed to the eight-goal quarter for the home team.
The fourth quarter saw more scoring from the Nittany Lions, including another seven-goal run, putting the Retrievers through another scoring drought. Frawley continued his impressive night, even with the blowout loss scoring all three of UMBC’s goals in the fourth. UMBC would fall to Penn State with a final score of 25-10. UMBC was dominated in nearly every statistical category, including face-offs where they were 4-38. Frawley finished with a team-high of six goals in the loss. With this season finally coming to a close, the Retrievers can be proud of their accomplishments; while they did not go far in the tournament, they did manage to win the America East title and create a stepping stone for what is to come of this young team.