Burlington, Vt. – UMBC’s torrid April run came to a halt, as the Retrievers fell, 9-6, at Vermont on the Catamounts’ Senior Night at Virtue Field.
The Retrievers had won three straight America East contests to work their way back into playoff contention. But the loss to the Catamounts (11-3, 4-2 America East) dropped UMBC (5-8, 3-3 America East) into the fourth-place tie with UMass Lowell and a March 31 setback in Lowell gives the River Hawks the tie-breaker and fourth place seed in next weekend’s America East Championships.
UMBC junior midfielder Billy Nolan (Crofton, Md./Arundel) posted his fourth three-goal game of the season and added three assists to lead the offense. He reached the 20-goal plateau for the first time in his career and his six-point effort was a team season-best.
Freshman attackman Steven Zichelli (Severna Park, Md./Severna Park) added two goals and two assists.
Vermont would open the scoring, but Nolan tallied twice in the first quarter to give the visitors a 2-1 lead with 4:06 to play in the period. The second goal came on a man-up opportunity. But the Catamounts ended the stanza with back-to-back goals and led 3-2 after15 minutes.
Zichelli recorded the opening goal of the second quarter to knot the score at 3-all, but the Catamounts would go on the critical run of the game to take control. Vermont scored the final two goals of the first half and led, 5-3, at the break, then opened the third period with two more goals to surge ahead, 7-3, by the 10:34 mark of the period.
UMBC junior midfielder Zach Kalas (Annapolis, Md./Archbishop Spalding) halted the Vermont run at the 6:36 mark, but Vermont answered two minutes later to restore the four-goal lead.
Zichelli tallied with 1:40 to play in the third and Nolan brought UMBC to within 8-6 on the Retrievers’ lone unassisted tally with 8:53 remaining. That goal was created by senior Billy O’Hara’s (Davidsonville, Md./South River), who caused a Vermont turnover.
Nolan had an opportunity to cut the deficit to one, but his shot with 6:52 remaining went wide. Vermont cleared and scored with 5:56 remaining to restore a three-goal margin.
The Retrievers attempted three shots down the stretch, but Vermont netminder Nick Washuta made stops on all three attempts.
Washuta was credited with 11 saves, while UMBC freshman goalkeeper Tommy Lingner (Fort Salonga, N.Y.) stopped seven of 33 shots the Catamounts fired.
O’Hara caused a pair of turnovers, giving him 23 on the season, and collected a team-high four ground balls.
UMBC struggled on face-offs, losing 16 of 19. The Retrievers caused eight of Vermont’s 15 turnovers.