Stony Brook, N.Y.- UMBC senior face-off specialist Phil Poe (Harwood, Md./DeMatha) set an America East Tournament record by winning 24 (of 30) face-offs and attackmen Matt Gregoire (Crofton ,Md./South River) and Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y./Hamburg) combined for 13 points as the third-seeded Retrievers defeated No. 2 Binghamton, 16-10, in the league semifinals.
UMBC (8-6) advances to its second consecutive title game and will face top-seeded Albany, a 17-16 overtime winner over Stony Brook in the nightcap. The game will be played at 10:00 a.m. at Stony Brook’s La Valle Stadium and air on ESPNU.
Gregoire, a senior, scored four goals and added three assists, while Maxwell, a freshman, recorded season-highs with four goals and six total points.
UMBC never trailed, but Binghamton shaved an 8-4 halftime deficit to 10-9 on a Mitchell Rick goal just 2:58 into the fourth quarter. But Poe, who won eight of nine fourth quarter draws, kept getting the ball back for the Retrievers. Gregoire, who was held off the board in the second and third quarters, finished a Nate Lewnes (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s) pass inside at the 4:17 mark to start a 4-0 Retriever run..
On UMBC’s next possession, Gregoire made a great catch inside of a Jack Gannon (Lake Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Sachem North) and beat BU netminder Max Schefler to push the lead to 12-9 with 9:55 remaining.
Sophomore midfielder Pat Young (Ewing, N.J./Christchurch (Va.) School) scored a pair of goals in a 38-second span late in the quarter to help seal the victory.
“”It was a good tough win for us today and I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” said head coach Don Zimmerman. “Getting out to a big lead certainly helped us, but give Binghamton credit, they are tough, well-coached and scrappy. In the fourth quarter, we needed to show more poise, and I am proud of…how we responded.in a clutch situation.”
The Retrievers started brightly, opening up a 4-0 just 6:15 into the proceedings. Gregoire opened the scoring, taking advantage of a mismatch to dodge and score unassisted just 1:52 into the contest. Maxwell then scored his first of the game, converting an inside feed from Gregoire at the 3:01 mark. Binghamton was whistled for a foul after the play and Maxwell made the Bearcats pay, setting up Nate Lewnes on the doorstep to put UMBC ahead, 3-0, just 3:39 into the contest.
Senior midfielder Zach Linkous (Jarrettsville, Md./St. Paul’s) scored UMBC’s fourth goal at the 6:15 mark before Binghamton Michael Antinozzi scored on his side’s first shot of the game 61 seconds later.
Gregoire and Maxwell ended the first 15 minutes with goals to give the Retrievers a 6-1 lead.
But Binghamton would outscore UMBC, 3-2, in the second quarter to cut their deficit to 8-4 at halftime.
Poe won 12 of 14 first half draws and collected eight ground balls as UMBC dominated time of possession in the first 30 minutes.
But the Bearcats outscored UMBC, 4-2, in the third quarter to close the gap to 10-8 after 45 minutes.
Young also tallied three goals for UMBC and Lewnes added two goals and one assist.
Antinozzi led the Bearcats with four goals.
UMBC outshot BU, 50-20, amassing its most shots in a game this season. The Retrievers also dominated the ground ball statistics, 41-13, including 16 ground balls for Poe.
“The best defense is offense and when Phil Poe is wins 24 face-offs, that’s playing great defense for us,: Zimmerman said. “Matt Gregoire would not be denied today and stepped up and scored some huge goals for us.”
Notes: Gregoire has 45 goals on the season, the second-most for any UMBC Division I men’s lacrosse player… Jason Smith holds the record with 47 scores in 1992… Poe now has 339 ground balls for his career and is now in second place in that category… He also has 209 face-off wins, nine shy of his own school record, set a year ago… Gordon has set a UMBC freshman record for saves with 163… UMBC is now 5-0 versus Binghamton in America East Tournament games