ALBANY – UMBC senior goalkeeper Ruston Souder (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) made 13 saves and the Retriever defense held the nation’s highest-scoring team to seven goals below its average, but the seventh-ranked Great Danes dominated time of possession and defeated UMBC, 10-5, at blustery John Fallon Stadium.
UMBC slipped to 4-6 overall and 2-1 in America East play, while Albany won its ninth straight game and improved to 9-1, 4-0.
The Great Danes entered the game averaging 17.1 goals per outing, but UMBC’s stingy, hustling zone defense forced seven of UA’s 18 turnovers and Souder fell just one shy of his season-high in saves to keep the hosts in check.
But Albany, the nation’s second-best face-off percentage squad, won 16 of 19 draws, took the ground ball battle, 34-13, and forced six Retriever failed clears to limit UMBC possessions.
Sophomore midfielder Gunnar Schimoler (Edgewater, Md./South River) and freshman linemate Mitch Howell (Laurel, Md./DeMatha) each contributed a goal and an assist for the visitors. Junior defender John Tornabene (Havre de Grace, Md./Archbishop Curley) caused two turnovers and added two ground balls to lead the group in front of Souder.
The Retrievers hung tough in the first 30 minutes, despite the hosts capturing eight of nine first half draws. held firm and Souder made three first quarter saves as Albany held a 1-0 lead after 15 minutes.
But Albany broke through early in the second quarter, scoring three times in the first 2:02 of the second stanza to take a 4-0 advantage. UMBC broke the ice at the 4:14 mark, as senior attackman Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y.) took a nice cross-field feed from Schimoler and netted his team-leading 15th goal of the season. The Retrievers crept to within 4-2 less than two minutes later as Howell buried a hard left-handed shot from 10 yards out.
Albany closed the frame and halted UMBC’s mini-run with a goal at the 10:20 mark, and Souder made a late save to keep the Retriever deficit at 5-2 at the break.
The Danes outscored UMBC, 5-1, in the third quarter to take a seven-goal bulge into the fourth quarter, but the Retrievers did not back down as Schimoler netted a goal on a left-handed alley dodge with 11:25 to play. Just 39 seconds later, sophomore midfielder Billy Nolan (Crofton, Md./Arundel) tallied from a similar spot to bring the visitors to with 10-5.
UMBC drew the lone man-up opportunity of the game with 6:54 remaining, but force-fed a pass to the crease and turned the ball back to Albany, curtailing the chances of a late-game rally.
Albany outshot UMBC, 38-25, but the Retrievers only put eight shots on goal, as UA netminder J.D. Colarusso only made three saves.
The Retrievers did not commit a penalty for the third time in 2017.
Albany’s Justin Reh led all scorers with four goals and one assist.
UMBC returns home to play its lone night game of the 2017 when they welcome a strong Binghamton (9-1, 3-0 AE) squad to UMBC Stadium on Sat., April 15. The opening face-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.