BALTIMORE – UMBC senior captains Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y.) and Ruston Souder (Pasadena, Md./Chespeake) led the offense and defense respectively as the Retrievers captured career victory No. 1 for head coach Ryan Moran with a sound 15-4 victory in the 2017 home debut over Mercer.
I’m really just happy for the guys, they’ve been working really hard and they’ve been challenged in February by some top-notch opponents that have tested our will,” said Moran. “It was a complete team, staff and program effort today and I’m it paid off today.”
UMBC (1-3) opened with losses at nationally-ranked North Carolina, Johns Hopkins and Richmond.
Maxwell scored a pair of goals, but dished out a career-best six assists to pace the offense, while Souder made 14 saves in the cage against a team that had scored a total of 22 goals in two previous contests.
UMBC’s previous high in goals on the season was six, scored in a 17-6 setback at No. 1 North Carolina in the opener. The four goals allowed was the fewest by a Retriever team since a 4-2 win at Monmouth early in the 2015 campaign.
Eleven different Retrievers hit the nets, led by sophomore attackman Jack Andrews (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s), who notched his second career three-goal game. Freshman attackman Ryan Frawley (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) also had a pair of goals for the hosts.
Souder was especially good early, as Mercer outshot UMBC, 10-4, in the first quarter, but trailed, 2-1, after 15 minutes. He made six first quarter stops, and after the Bears opened the scoring on a Matt Quinn goal at the 1:38 mark, UMBC junior defensive middie Mason Witzler (Reisterstown, Md./St. Paul’s School) tied it on a fast-break and Maxwell gave the Retrievers the lead for good on another unassisted tally with just five second remaining in the quarter.
UMBC extended the run to 4-0 on early second quarter goals by Austin Mitchell (Laurel, Md./Reservoir/Howard CC) and Maxwell just 2:13 into the frame. After the Bears got one answer, freshman Mitch Howell (Laurel, Md./DeMatha), Andrews and sophomore midfielder Ian Leek (Valley Center, Calif.) responded to give the Retrievers a 7-2 halftime advantage.
Andrews created a turnover off a Mercer clear and scored just 29 seconds into the second half and completed his hat trick at the 5:21 mark to put the hosts comfortably ahead, 9-2, late in the third quarter. The Retrievers held Mercer scoreless for for over 25 minutes before the Bears’ Kevin Yoggi tallied with 2:43 to play in the period.
The Retrievers recorded their most potent quarter of the season, outscoring Mercer, 6-1, in the final 15 minutes.
Maxwell, who recorded a career high eight-point game, moved into ninth place on UMBC’s all-time assist list with 74.
UMBC outshot Mercer, 33-27, and the Bears held a slight 12-11 edge in face-offs won. The Retrievers cleared successfully in all 20 opportunities, committed a season-low seven turnovers and did not commit a foul for the second time in four games.
Mercer (1-2) starting netminder Brett Quartuccio made five saves and allowed seven goals in the first 27:37 and took the loss.
The Retrievers host Towson next Saturday, March 4, at UMBC Stadium at noon.