Here are some thoughts after after talking to UMBC’s Peet Poillon, Jeremy Blevins, Kyle Wimer, Justing Radebaugh and coach Don Zimmerman, and Rutgers coach Jim Stagnitta…
Blame the Retrievers’ slow start on a bad week of practice
Zimmerman said his team came out flat, a statement supported by their only scoring once on their 10 first quarter shots (and giving up three goals on Rutgers’ seven first quarter shots.) After falling down 4-1 at the 12:51 mark of the second period, Zimmerman called timeout and told his players to wake up, saying they weren’t playing with enough enthusiasm.
Stagnitta though the game turned late in the second quarter when, tied 5-5 after three straight UMBC goals, the Scarlet Knights took a quick shot, which resulted in a UMBC clear, a subsequent penalty and a pair of Retriever goals, sending RU to the locker room down 7-5.
Poillon’s slump is gone
Zimmerman said the senior middie had been in a funk over the past couple weeks, but his four goals and three assists on 11 shots prove that’s a thing of the past. Poillon said he and the offense started early as he and fellow middie Alex Hopmann adjusted to being shut off by shortstick d-middies, but once they got used to it they found their groove in the second quarter.
Poillon looked especially good dodging when he’d iso from x, something Stagnitta said Rutgers was trying to do in hopes of at least knowing where the talented midfield would be consistently attacking from.
Credit UMBC’s ride for Rutgers clearing woes
Both Zim and Stagnitta said that, while the Scarlet Knights were sloppy at times between the boxes, the Retrievers’ pressure forced a lot of RU’s mistakes. The trouble for Rutgers, who finished 14-23 on clears, was that they liked what they were getting in settled 6-on-6 offense. They just didn’t have the ball enough.
And we’re live from beautiful Catonsville, Md.
Last time I was here, my computer died amid the Retrievers’ epic comeback against Albany in last year’s AE championship, so keep your fingers crossed…
Game clock says we’re 22 minutes out of face-off, so I’m heading down to the field to get a closer look at warm-ups.
UMBC’s release and pregame notes
Also, kudos to UMBC Athletic Communications whose streaming the game (and currently playing a hugely underrated pregame song in the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter.”)
Q1 15:00, 0-0
Facing off for Rutgers is Chris Mattes, for UMBC it was J.D. Harkey. Procedure Retrievers, Scarlet Knights start with a sustained possession.
Q1 8:00, Rutgers 2-0
RU got on the board first despite a good defensive effort from UMBC when Dugan took a pass from Pennington and beat Blevins low.
Rutgers won the following face-off, but the control pass back to Olin went over his head and the endline. On UMBC’s first possession, Wimer beat his defender on got a nice shot that went wide.
So far Rutgers has two failed clears and Poillon has taken two shots.
Rutgers scored again, Kelly from Pennington, on an extra man crank from the top left of the box after a Retrievers’ offsides call.
Q1 0:00, Rutgers 3-1
Despite their two-goal lead, Rutgers looked a little frantic at the outset, particularly clearing and defensively. They’ve calmed down, and got the ball back after a UMBC turnover.
GOAL 4:44 Kelly unassisted. After a stall warning, Kelly gathered at back left and beat his man topside for a low lefty shot.
GOAL Hopmann with a flag down after gathering a looseball in the top left part of the box. A nice, settled, overhand shot.
Rutgers on UMBC: O’Dougherty on Smith, Stone on Latham, Fradkin on Jones
UMBC on Rutgers: Goedeke (just subbed in) on Kelly, Settembrino on Rommel, Schneider on Stanwick
UMBC almost drew within one goal when Jamie Kimbles took a crosscrease pass from Maxx Davis, but Olin stopped a high-to-high shot as time expired.
Q2 10:00, Rutgers 4-2
Notable first quarter stats:
UMBC: 10 shots, 1-5 on face-offs, 3 saves
Rutgers: 3-6 clearing, +5 gbs
GOAL Dugan form Rommel. A skip pass from GLE to the top of the box, nice look. Blevins needs to heat up a little bit.
GOAL Davis unassisted. Got possession at the top of the box, made a few moves ran past the shortstick middie covering him and got off a righty shot on the run. RU d-man was upset with himself.
Q2 4:00, 5-5
GOAL Poillon unassisted. He took his shorty and isoed from x, gave a stutter step at the back of the net and got a sidearm rip over Olin’s stick from about one step above the box.
Play has been pretty sloppy so far; each side has committed about 7-8 turnovers at the midpoint of the quarter.
Both teams have had a lot of success with skip passes.
GOAL Gerhard Buehning, missed the assist. Speaking of devils, goal on a skip pass.
GOAL Wimer from Poillon. Another skip pass and pretty sidearm to high. Almost identical goal too RU’s last.
Dugan just served up a nine-yard shot that Blevins gobbled up on his stickside hip. After a nice clear got Wimer alone with the ball comign out of the box…
GOAL Wimer unassisted. He gathered in traffic and beat Olin between his legs with a bounce shot while taking two hits. There’s been a lot of action in the last five minutes.
Q2 0:00, UMBC 7-5
Wimer’s going to be upset he didn’t add to his goal total at the 1:31 mark when he took a play-on off an O’Dougherty slash and was alone on the doorstep and put his shot right in Olin’s stick.
On the following man-up chance, UMBC used some good ball movement to get Rich May a good look on the right wing. He buried it high.
GOAL Latham from Poillon. After a long face-off scramble that Rutgers came up with, Pennington got yardsaled from behind by UMBC longstick Camarado. On UMBC’s next possession, Poillon found Latham on a cross-crease pass for a three-yard finish.
Halftime stats to come.
UMBC SCORING: Wimer 2G, Poillon 1G-2A, Poillon 1G-2A, Latham 1G, Hopmann 1G, Grimm 1A, Davis 1G, May 1G
RU SCORING: Dugan 2G, Kelly 2G, Buehning 1G, Pennington 2A, Rommel 2A
Q3 8:00, UMBC 9-5
A few observations: Olin has been very good. After looking a little lost early on, he’s been reacting well on every shot.
Rutgers’ clearing game might be their undoing. They’ve turned another over early in the third that led to a…
GOAL Grimm from Latham. Some tic-tac-tow passing in transition got Grimm open on the crease and he beat Olin with a dive in which he was able to extend and find the far corner.
On Rutgers’ next possession, Buehning got stoned on a dive when Blevins matched his stick.
GOAL Jones unassisted. Nice drive from x.
Q3 2:00, UMBC 12-6
GOAL Kelly unassisted. He took a big rip with time and room.
GOAL Latham, missed the assist. He was alone on the crease and had time to fake high and go low.
UMBC has really found its groove offensively and is getting mofr from its attack, both driving and getting open. They’ve also started catching a lot of the passes in the slot that they dropped in the first half.
GOAL Poillon from Grimm on a man-up. Poillon runs the point and hit a Danowski-esque shot from about 15 yards out as the penalty was winding down. He pumped to his left and let loose a nice rip.
GOAL Poillon. Heat check. He isoed from behind again and did the same move going to his right.
The breaks are going UMBC’s way, now. Buehning just missed out on a goal again as Buehning beat Blevins high, but hit the crossbar. Rutgers retains possession.
Q3 0:00, UMBC 12-7
After stopping the bleeding, Rutgers had a good defensive possession and came up with a good groundball after Olin stopped Jones on the crease. With 15 seconds to go and a shot to draw within four and get momentum going into the fourth (DON’T GIVE UP A GOAL IN THE LAST MINUTE OF A QUARTER), a Rutgers defender basically rolled the ball out of bounds. They’re now 10-17 on clears.
Q4 12:07, UMBC 14-7
Face-offs are 11 each after three quarters and really haven’t been a factor.
GOAL Wimer unassisted. Tough one for Olin to let in as he got a piece of it.
Gut check time for Rutgers. UMBC’s got the ball with their first midfield unit on and 13 minutes to go. Olin picks off a pass, but again clearing is a problem and O’Dougherty’s pass to Pennington went out of bounds.
GOAL Poillon unassisted. Timeout Rutgers. Don’t want to be in the Scarlet Knights’ huddle right now.
Q2 0:00, UMBC 7-5
Rutgers came out of the timeout with more fire. Pennington lost the draw, but he and Diehl worked hard and Diehl came up with the gb.
They slowed down the possession and got a good look one-on-one with Blevins from about five yards out, but Blevins made a comfortable save at his right hip on a fairly weak shot.
GOAL Jones unassisted.
After a UMBC turnover at the top of the box, Pennington led a text book fastbreak and put a pass on Rommel’s stick in good shooting position. He couldn’t hold onto the pass however — story of the day for Rutgers.
Blevins again. He got big and stuffed Buehning on the doorstep again, then cleared it the length of the field. His shot looked like more of a pass to Olin, but he drew an illegal body check for his efforts. A new goalie for Rutgers — Peter Pantages, who played a lot last week.
A note on Blevins — I’ve never seen him have a better first half than a second half. Last year against Maryland, Albany and UVa. stand out specifically in my memory. Kid’s got ice.
UMBC looks content to milk the clock. They got two shots on the EMO, but now are clearly stalling with Poillon behind.
GOAL Smith from Poillon. No. 21 in white is putting up some good numbers today. New keeper — Kevin Korhi — for UMBC.
Q4 0:00, UMBC 17-10
GOAL Brendan Porter unassisted. Porter’s been playing ssdm all day drawing a tough assignment; he’s covered all three of UMBC’s top middies, mostly on Poillon or Hopmann. A junior, he may have been the best athlete on the field today, but has made a few mistakes. Looks like he’ll be a contributor.
GOAL Jeff Rommel unassisted.
GOAL Kelly from Pennington. Off the draw, won it pretty clean and found Kelly in a good lefty shooting position on the wing. The score is looking closer than it was.
GOAL UMBC’s Eric Gurnsey from Grimm.
A good first half gave way to a dominating UMBC third quarter performance and Rutgers was never able to mount a significant comeback. Down to the field for more notes.