Kathy Zerrlaut described Moment No. 28 on the #retriever50for50 countdown as "the biggest high of my lacrosse coaching career."
The NCAA did not offer championships in many women's collegiate sports until the 1980's. At the Division I level, the first women's lacrosse championship was awarded in 1982. UMBC competed at the NCAA Division II level until 1985-86, so opportunities for the Lady Retrievers (a term used in that era) were rare.
But the nation's largest and longest-standing conference, the ECAC, did offer championships and the Retriever women's lacrosse team put together an outstanding campaign in 1984. The Retrievers posted an 11-3 regular season record, including victories in seven of eight games decided by three goals or fewer.
After finishing third in the Maryland Collegiate Women's Lacrosse Association Tournament, the Retrievers were tabbed to host the ECAC Division II Championship game on May 12, 1984. The opponent would be a northern school, St. Michael's from Vermont.
On the crowned, grass surface of UMBC Stadium, the Retrievers defeated St. Michael's, 13-7, to earn the championship.
The team was paced in 1984 by dual sport athlete and co-captain Shawne Heckler. She could do it all on the lacrosse field, scoring 29 goals, adding 20 assists, 62 ground balls and a team-high 38 draw controls. Heckler-O'Connor, also a standout guard on the women's basketball team, earned USWLA All-American Honors in 1984 and was inducted into the UMBC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1991.
Peggy O'Neill co-captained the squad and joined Heckler, Kathy Smith and Laura Robinson on the Brine South Regional Division II-III All-America squad. Robinson, UMBC's all-time leading goal scorer with 192, was also inducted into the UMBC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.