Men's Lacrosse Opening Day Notebook: Retrievers Open '18 Campaign at Home on Saturday vs. No. 20 Richmond

Men's Lacrosse Opening Day Notebook: Retrievers Open '18 Campaign at Home on Saturday vs. No. 20 Richmond

The UMBC men's lacrosse team opens its 2018 season on Saturday, Feb. 10 when they host the 20th-ranked Richmond Spiders. Game time at UMBC Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be streamed via the America East Conference digital network with Gary Stein on the call.

Retriever Notebook

  • In Year No. 1 under new head coach Ryan Moran, UMBC made its first appearance in the America East Championships since 2014. The Retrievers posted a 4-2 America East record (6-8 overall) and earned the No. 2 seed in the championships. UMBC fell to third-seeded Binghamton, 9-4.
  • UMBC's 4-2 America East record was its best since 2009.
  • UMBC received votes in the Inside Lacrosse/Maverik media poll on both April 17 and May 1.
  • UMBC opened the 2017 slate by taking on the 2016 national champions, the North Carolina Tar Heels, ranked  No. 1 in the USILA pre-season poll. No. 8  Johns Hopkins, Towson (No. 12) and Albany (No. 13) were other ranked teams in the pre-season, while Richmond, Stony Brook and Vermont received votes. UMBC's final RPI was 31.
  • Four Retrievers earned 2017 America East Men's Lacrosse All-Conference honors and three of those players return to the fold in 2018. Junior defenseman Jason Brewster (San Diego, Calif.) earned a pair of accolades, receiving Second Team and All-Academic Team honors. He was joined on the Second Team by junior midfielder Billy Nolan (Crofton, Md./Arundel). Sophomore attackman Ryan Frawley (Mountain Lakes, N.J.) was tabbed to the All-Rookie Team.
  • UMBC returns 23 letterwinners from last year's squad and features 18 newcomers. Eight of the returning letterwinners started the final game of the 2017 campaign for head coach Ryan Moran. The starters lost are leading scorer, attackman Max Maxwell (18g, 21a, team-high 39 points) and goalkeeper Ruston Souder (9.00 GAA, 49.6 save pct.) .
  • Three returning players earned 2017 weekly America East awards. Sophomore face-off specialist Jake Brothers earned Rookie of the Week on Feb. 13, classmate Ryan Frawley captured that award on March 13 and April 30 (co-Rookie), midfielder Billy Nolan captured the Player of the Week award on March 20,
  • Nolan finished the campaign tied for fourth in goals per game in league play, recording 2.5 per game. He earned America East Player of the Week honors after spearheading UMBC's 12-9 lid-lifting victory in league play at Stony Brook with a career-high five-goal effort.
  • Nolan is the team's leading returning scorer. He recorded 18 goals and 6 assists (24 pts.) a season ago. Junior attackman Jack Andrews finished one point behind (12-11-23) and freshman Ryan Frawley also surpassed the 20-point plateau at 18-3-21. Frawley, Nolan and Maxwell shared team honors with 18 goals scored.  
  • Frawley led UMBC with five man-up goals, which ranked him No. 3 in America East and tied for 39th nationally.
  • The 2017 Retriever defense allowed 9.14 goals per game, ranked 19th nationally. 
  • UMBC took a league-low 21 penalties in 2017 and did not commit a foul in three games on the season.
  • In 2017, UMBC was undefeated when leading after any quarter of play, 4-0 after 15 and 30 minutes and 5-0 when leading after three quarters.
  • UMBC's starting close defense (Jason Brewster, Nick Griffin, John Tornabene) and goalkeeper Ruston Souder started all 14 games in 2017. The three defensemen all return in 2018, but senior David Pisanic and freshmen Tommy Lingner and Stephen Price are waging a battle for the starting role in the cage.
  • Senior LSM Billy O'Hara has amassed 100 career ground balls and needs three caused turnovers to reach 40. O'Hara finished fourth in America East and 58th nationally in ground balls per game (3.64) and third/45th in caused turnovers (1.29) per contest.
  • Brewster placed sixth in America East and 64th nationally in caused miscues (1.14) per game
  • The 2018 UMBC men's lacrosse team has selected seniors O'Hara and Tornabene and juniors Brewster  and Gunnar Schimoler as its team captains for the academic year. Brewster will serve in the capacity as captain for the second consecutive year.
  • After a season during which Albany reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship for the third time in four years, the Great Danes are the unanimous America East favorites in 2018. Stony Brook is tabbed second, followed by Vermont, UMBC, Hartford, Binghamton and UMass Lowell.
  • The Retrievers play six of 13 games at UMBC Stadium, including first-time visitor Michigan and (March 24) No. 4 pre-season and defending America East champion Albany (April 7). The four-team America East Tournament will be played at the site of the regular season champion on Thursday, May 3 and Saturday, May 5. 

A Glance at the Spiders

Coming off a program-high 12 wins (12-4) and the highest ranking in program history (#11) in 2017, the University of Richmond men's lacrosse team has its sight set on reloading yet again for 2018.

With the graduation of 14 seniors from the first-ever full recruiting class in program history, the Spiders will have a lot of new faces, but the expectations are still the same as Inside Lacrosse released its preseason rankings, putting Richmond at #20 heading into the new year.

It will also mark the fourth year in five total years of program history that the Spiders have earned a national ranking.

Richmond will return six of its top eight scorers from last season, as well as the return of three-time All-Conference honoree Mitch Goldberg to the offensive attack. Junior attackman Teddy Hatfield (33 goals, 59  points) earned All So-Con pre-season accolades after a brilliant 2017 campaign.

Defensively, the 2017 Spiders ranked as one of the country's best yet again, holding opponents to 6.25 goals against average, the lowest in the nation. Richmond held every one of its 2017 opponents to single-digits in goals.

The Series

UMBC and Richmond have faced off in each of the Spiders' varsity status. UMBC triumphed, 14-5, at home in 2014, and 9-5, in Richmond a year later. But the Spiders have taken the last two, winning, 7-5, at UMBC in the 2016 opener, and 10-5, in Richmond last season.

UMBC cut a late six-goal deficit in half, but could not complete the comeback and fell at 16th-ranked Richmond, 10-5, at Robins Stadium last February 18. UMBC had five different goal scorers and BIlly Nolan had a goal and a helper. Billy O'Hara produced an outstanding game with a goal, four ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Moran's Takes

On the offense:

"There has been a lot of improvement on the offensive side of the ball. It was a lot harder than I anticipated last year. This summer and fall presented us enough time and last year provided enough of a sample size to put together schematically what we can do to be more productive. We definitely look more comfortable and organized, so I hope that yields more production."

On the defense, ranked No. 19 in goals allowed per game in 2017

"We're happy to have experience down there, bringing back three close defensemen who understand the system - that really helps.  We do, however, have a lot of new faces in the short-stick defensive group, which is a really important one, but have some depth down there.

On facing No. 20 Richmond in the opener

"We are going to get an organized team, a tough team, a hard-playing team. We are going to have to match that toughness and organization. Given the fact that it's the opener, we're going to have to rely on our training and do things fundamentally well. It's a fun challenge and we're all excited for it."  

On the schedule in general

"Everything we do in non-conference prepares for conference play. We are challenging ourselves with teams that are talented and physically tough. We might get exposed a little bit to show us what our weaknesses are, which can be a good thing."

Up Next

UMBC plays three consecutive games on the road, but never leaves the state of Maryland. The Retrievers face Navy for the first time since 2003 next Saturday, Feb. 17 at noon. Following that contest, UMBC goes to Mount St. Mary's (Fri, Feb. 23) and visits Towson (Sat., March 3).