BALTIMORE – UMBC scored the game’s first four goals and never trailed as the Retrievers concluded the regular season with a 10-7 victory over Vermont in warm conditions at UMBC Stadium.
The Retrievers improved to 6-7 overall and 4-2 in America East play and secured the No. 2 seed in the America East Conference Championships. UMBC will face third-seeded Binghamton (10-3, 4-2 AE) in the first semi-final contest (4:30 p.m.) on Thursday at Albany’s Casey Stadium.
UMBC’s 4-2 America East record is its best since 2009, when they won four of five and captured the regular season and tournament crowns.
Freshman attackman Ryan Frawley (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) posted his second four-goal game of the campaign and finished with a season-best five points. Senior attackman Max Maxwell (Hamburg, N.Y.), who was one of eight seniors honored before the game, matched Frawley’s point total with two goals and three helpers.
The Retriever defense returned its stifling ways, as they held Vermont’s high-powered attack line to just one goal, which occurred on a man-up opportunity.
“I was really happy we were able to start off the game the right way,…being the hungrier team in the early stages of the game,” said first-year head coach Ryan Moran. “I was happy that we were able to get our seniors a win on Senior Day and was happy to finish second in the league when most had us predicted to finish outside the top four.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to compete in the America East Tournament.”
UMBC scored three times in the first 5:28 of the game, as Maxwell, Frawley and sophomore midfielder Billy Nolan (Crofton, Md./Arundel) got on the board for the hosts. Junior midfielder Steven Partlow (Pasadena, Md./DeMatha) scored his first goal of the season with 1:28 to play in the period to extend the margin to 4-0 before Vermont’s Jack Knight answered with 44 seconds remaining in the first.
Nolan made it 5-1 with a goal right at the midpoint of the second period, but Knight completed his team-leading three-goal effort by netting back-to-back goals at the 6:04 and 3:31 marks. But Frawley provided the Retrievers with a three-goal cushion and he converted on a fast break with 90 seconds to play and UMBC took a 6-3 lead to the locker room.
The Catamounts would open both the third and fourth quarters with goals, but UMBC scored twice in response each time. Frawley netted his third and fourth of the game 2:40 apart in the latter stages of the third quarter to put his side ahead, 8-4 after 45 minutes.
Then Maxwell posted his team-best 18th goal of the campaign and sophomore linemate Jack Andrews (Arnold, Md./St. Mary’s) converted a Maxwell feed off a broken Vermont clear to give the Retrievers a game-high five-goal cushion at 10-5 with 4:36 remaining.
UMBC outshot Vermont, 34-24, and senior netminder Ruston Souder (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) made eight stops to earn his sixth win of the campaign. Vermont freshman goalkeeper Nick Washuta took the loss, making seven saves and allowing all 10 goals in 57:18 of work.
Maxwell moved into sole possession of fifth place on UMBC’s all-time assist list with 87 and knotted former teammate Nate Lewnes for 14th place on the all-time points list with 145 (58 goals, 87 assists).
Nolan scored two goals, while Partlow and Andrews each had a goal and an assist for the victors. Freshman face-off specialist Jake Brothers (Elkridge, Md./Mount St. Joseph) won a season-best 65 percent of the draws (13-of-20), while junior LSDM Billy O’Hara (Davidsonville, Md./South River) gobbled up a game-high six ground balls.
UMBC edged Binghamton, 7-6, in their regular season meeting at UMBC Stadium on April 15. Both the Retrievers and the Bearcats will be making their first tournament appearances since 2014, when UMBC advanced to the title match with a 16-10 victory over Binghamton.
Top-seeded Albany will face Stony Brook in the nightcap at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. Both semi-finals games will be broadcast on ESPN3, while the championship game, to be held at noon, on Saturday, will be broadcast by ESPNU.