BALTIMORE – UMBC fought from behind the entire game, tied visiting Robert Morris early in the fourth quarter, but never got the lead and fell to the Colonials (2-0), 10-8, in the Retrievers’ season opener.
Junior attackmen Scott Jones (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) and Joe Lustgarten (Wading River, N.Y.) and sophomore midfielder Zach Linkous (Jarrettsville, Md./St. Paul’s) scored two goals each for UMBC. RMU’s Taylor Graves and Casey Abbott tallied twice for the visitors, who never trailed in the game.
Robert Morris got out to a 2-0 lead by the 9:30 mark of the first quarter, but goals by Linkous and senior midfielder Rob Grimm (Black River, N.Y.) tied the score at 2-2 just 38 seconds into the second quarter.
But the Colonials outscored UMBC, 4-1, in just over nine minutes in the second stanza and took a 6-3 lead into intermission.
Both teams scored twice in the third quarter, but UMBC took advantage of Robert Morris’ penalties to score three times in the first 4:41 of the fourth period to forge an 8-8 tie. Jones sandwiched a pair of man-up goals on identical looks from the left side around a drive and score by Linkous to even the score.
But the tie lasted only 31 seconds. The Colonials won their lone draw of the fourth quarter and scored with good ball movement, as freshman attackman Jacob Ruest put away a Graves feed from close range to restore RMU’s lead.
UMBC then drew a pair of fouls on their next possession and played 6-on-4 for 30 seconds and 6-on-5 for another minute. But Colonial goalkeeper, Matt Bukovac made a pair of saves on UMBC sophomore midfielder Dave Brown (Coopersburg, Pa.) and RMU cashed in on a fast break opportunity just after the second penalty expired. Abbott finished on Jake Hayes’ second assist of the day and gave the visitors a two-goal lead with 5:46 remaining.
Bukovac made two more saves down the stretch, one on a man-up situation for UMBC, to preserve the victory. In his first collegiate start, the Ashburn, Va. native was stellar with 16 stops.
UMBC junior netminder Adam Cohen (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s) was nearly as good, with ten saves, but several were of a five-star variety.
The Retrievers dominated statistically, outshooting RMU, 47-32, winning 15 of 21 face-offs and capturing 38 ground balls to 27 for the Colonials. UMBC sophomore Phil Poe (Harwood, Md./DeMatha) attempted all 21 draws for UMBC and led all players with six ground balls.
But UMBC did commit 19 turnovers, leading to several of the Robert Morris scores. The Retrievers did score two extra-man goals, but missed on six additional opportunities, while the Colonials did not have an man-up chance.
Jones was the lone Retriever with a three-point day, adding an assist to his two goals, while Grimm (1g, 1a) and Brown (2a) also had multiple points. Graves and Abbott each had an assist to go along with the two goals, while Hayes had a goal and two helpers.
UMBC hits the road to face Rutgers on Sunday, Feb. 26 at noon.