The UMBC men’s lacrosse team (3-5) opens its tenth season of America East Conference play on Sat., March 30 when they travel to West Hartford, Conn. to take on the Hartford Hawks (3-4). The Retrievers are seeking to earn their tenth berth in the postseason America East Tournament and their fourth league title. The contest vs. the Hawks faces off at 2:00 p.m.
UMBC just won its second of three consecutive home games in an eight-day stretch with a 10-8 victory over Mount St. Mary’s on March 23. UMBC got a pair of goals from its close defenders, including the game-winner by senior Ethan Murphy in the late stages of the game. Sophomore netminder Wes DiRito made 11 saves as UMBC held the Mount three goals below its season average.
FOR OPENERS: UMBC is 6-3 in previous America East Conference openers. The Retrievers snapped a two-game slide in the wake of the 2012 victory vs. Hartford. The Retrievers are 2-2 when opening an America East season on the road.
BEASTS OF AMERICA EAST: UMBC is 36-11 (.766) in nine years of America East competition and 20-4 (.833) at UMBC Stadium. UMBC has never lost back-to-back regular season contests in league play. In 2012, the Retrievers (3-2 AEC) posted a winning league record and earned a spot in the four-team America East Conference Championships for the ninth consecutive year.
A LOOK AT THE OPPONENT: Hartford put up a good fight, but it was unable to take down the University of Massachusetts as the Minutemen scored a pair of late goals to come out of Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium with an 13-11 triumph on March 23. Hartford, which rode a three-game win streak into the evening, dips to 3-4 on the season. Freshman midfielder Jack Bobzien tallied five points, a team-high, on one goal and four assists. Bobzien (5g, 20a) was named America East Conference Rookie of the Week and has 20 assists through seven games, including 12 in his last three outings. Junior attackman Andrew Cacchio leads the Hawks with 12 goals scored. Five of Hartford’s seven games have been decided by three goals or less and UH is 3-2 in those contests.
ALL-TIME SERIES: UMBC leads the series, 6-4, and snapped a six-game slide to the Hawks with a 16-12 victory at UMBC Stadium in 2012. The Retrievers have dropped three consecutive games at Al-Marzook Field. Hartford has averaged 12.0 goals per game vs. UMBC in the last five meetings after the Retrievers averaged 15.6 goals per game in the first five meetings.
THE LAST TIME WE MET: Joe Lustgarten smashed a career highs with five goals and eight total points, leading host UMBC to a 16-12 victory over Hartford in the America East Conference opener for both squads on March 31, 2012. Junior attackman Scott Jones added four goals and an assist for UMBC, while sophomore attackman Matt Gregoire added three goals in his first start of the campaign. The Retrievers led 5-0 after 15 minutes and 8-2 at halftime. The Hawks got as close as 14-11 early in the fourth quarter before a Gregoire goal halted the momentum.
UP NEXT: UMBC returns to UMBC Stadium for its league home opener vs. Vermont on Saturday, April 7.