For the second consecutive year, the UMBC men’s lacrosse team (8-6) will take on top-seeded Albany (10-5) for the America East Conference men’s lacrosse championship when the two rivals take the field at Stony Brook University’s La Valle Stadium on Saturday, May 3. The Retrievers advanced with a 16-10 semifinal win over No. 2 Binghamton in Thursday’s opener, while Albany needed overtime to subdue host No. 4 Stony Brook, 17-16, in the nightcap. The opening face-off is set for 10:00 a.m., with ESPNU providing live coverage. Mark Dixon and Paul Carcaterra handle the play-by-play and color responsibilities. Live stats are available via America East’s Championship Central.
RETRIEVER UPDATE: UMBC senior face-off specialist Phil Poe set an America East Tournament record by winning 24 (of 30) face-offs and attackmen Matt Gregoire and Max Maxwell combined for 13 points as the third-seeded Retrievers defeated No. 2 Binghamton, 16-10, in the league semifinals.
Gregoire, a senior, scored four goals and added three assists, while Maxwell, a freshman, recorded season-highs with four goals and six total points.
Poe set a pair of school records in the previous contest versus Vermont. UMBC’s all-time lead in face-offs won, controlled a school-record 28 (of 34) draws, surpassing his own school mark by five. He also collected 20 ground balls, eclipsing Nick Brownlee’s record of 18, recorded on April 6, 1997.
UMBC qualified for its 11th America East championship in 11 league campaigns. The Retrievers will compete for their sixth title, with wins in 2006, 2008, 2009 and runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2013. Four of UMBC’s five championship games have been against Albany, with UMBC winning match-ups in 2006 and 2008 and dropping decisions in 2007 and 2013. The Retrievers defeated Stony Brook for the 2009 title.
Gregoire leads the team with 45 goals and 54 points. Entering the week, he was second nationally with 3.15 goals per game (behind UA’s Miles Thompson) and the 45 goals is the third-most scored in a single season in school history. Jason Smith holds the school record with 47 goals scored in 1992.
Gregoire and Poe are two of just seven seniors on the 2014 Retriever roster. UMBC started two freshmen and four sophomores throughout the campaign.
Four other Retrievers have 33 or more points. Maxwell (15-24-39) leads the team in assists, while soph. midfielders Jack Gannon (18-23-41) and Pat Young (30-9-39) and SO A Nate Lewnes (30-7-37) round out an efficicent offensive unit.
UMBC is ranked 11th in the nation with 12.0 goals scored per game. The Retrievers averaged 13.2 goals per game in America East play and 15.8 in their last four contests. UMBC is also 12th in the nation in shooting percentage at 32.1 percent.
Red-shirt FR G Connor Gordon was ranked sixth in the nation with 12.23 saves per game. He earned AE Rookie of the Week honors on March 31.
Head Coach Don Zimmerman enters his 21st season at UMBC and his 28th as a collegiate head coach. Amongst Division I head coaches, the Retriever mentor stood eighth with 220 victories and is 16th in winning percentage at .601 before the season started. The Retriever mentor has made 13 NCAA Tournament apperances in his tenures at Johns Hopkins (`1984-90) and UMBC (1994-present). His 1984, 1985 and 1987 Hopkins teams earned national titles and he coached the Retrievers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1998.
GREAT DANE UPDATE: Forcing overtime on a goal in the final seconds of regulation and winning the game in the extra session, top-seeded Albany knocked off fourth-seeded Stony Brook, 17-16 in overtime at Stony Brook’s La Valle Stadium. America East Player of the Year Lyle Thompson scored from in front with just five seconds left to force overtime and Doug Eich’s strike from seven yards out in the extra session sent Albany to the title game for the 11th time since 2003.
Miles Thompson (67g, 32a) tied a single-game tournament record with seven goals and also added a pair of assists. Lyle Thompson (42 g, 63 a) scored five times and added three helpers.
THE SERIES/THIS YEAR’S RESULT: UMBC leads the all-time series, 10-8, but the Great Danes have taken the last four meetings.
The teams will meet for the eighth time (in UMBC’s 11 league seasons) in the America East Tournament. Albany holds a 5-2 advantage in those games, but the teams have split title games at two apiece. UA has won three straight tournament games in the seriees.
The Retrievers lost a 18-14 shootout to the Albany Great Danes before 1,449 fans on April 19 at UMBC Stadium. Poe won 23 (of 35) face-offs in the contest and Nate Lewnes led the attack with five goals.