BALTIMORE – The UMBC men’s lacrosse team gave defending America East champion quite a battle, but the Retrievers lost a 18-14 shootout to the Albany Great Danes before 1,449 fans on “Senior Day” at UMBC Stadium.
The Retrievers slip to 6-6 overall and 2-2 in America East play, while Albany, which is receiving votes in the national polls, improves to 7-5, 4-0.
UMBC senior face-off specialist Phil Poe (Harwood, Md./DeMatha) tied his own school record, by winning 23 (of 35) face-offs in the contest. Poe also collected 15 ground balls and raised his career total to 303, third-most in school history.
Sophomore attackman Nate Lewnes (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s) tied his career-best with five goals in the contest.
The Great Danes started quickly, taking a 4-0 lead midway through the first quarter before Pat Young (Ewing, N.J./Christchurch (Va.)) School) got UMBC on the board with 4:46 to play in the stanza.
Albany led, 7-2, after 15 minutes, but the Retrievers owned the second quarter, outscoring the visitors, 6-2 and climbing to within 9-8 at intermission. Senior attackman Matt Gregoire (Crofton, Md./South River) scored twice in a 5-1 run to end the quarter. His second goal with 46 seconds remaining cut the deficit to 9-7, and Poe won the ensuing draw, raced down the field to score seven seconds later to give UMBC the momentum at the break.
UA outscored UMBC, 5-2, in the first 17 minutes of the second half and led, 14-10 on a Matt Garziano goal 1:47 into the fourth quarter. But the Retrievers fought back, and after an exchange of goals, Lewnes scored twice on hard left-handed rips from the off-wing as he finished feeds by freshman attackman Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg).
But 15-13 was as close as the Retrievers would come down the stretch. Albany scored twice more, but UMBC still had life as Lewnes converted another Maxwell feed with 3:33 remaining to bring the hosts to within 17-14. The goal was scored with two non-releaseable UA penalties enforced. The Retrievers still had 43 seconds on the man-up, but Poe was whistled for a face-off violation on the ensuing draw and UMBC could not complete the rally.
Young (3g, 1a) and Gregoire each scored three goals for UMBC, while Maxwell and sophomore midfielder Jack Gannon (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Sachem North) added four and three assists respectively.
Albany was led by senior attackman Miles Thompson, who scored a game-high six goals and added four assists.
UMBC outshot UA, 46-39, but Great Dane sophomore goalkeeper Blaze Riorden made 20 saves, the most against the Retrievers since the 2011 campaign. UMBC red-shirt freshman netminder Connor Gordon (Bourne, Mass./Tabor Acad.), who left the game briefly in the first quarter due to injury, stopped 11 UA shots and allowed 16 of the 18 goals.
UMBC concludes the regular season at Vermont on Saturday, April 26.
Notes: Poe has the most ground balls (303) of any UMBC Division I (1981) player… Gregoire now has 13 career games with three or more goals, including seven in 2014… UMBC lost for the first time in 2014 (6-1) when outshooting its opponent… The Retrievers still lead the all-time series, 10-8.