Of the 11 different players who have started in UMBC’s midfield, freshman Pat Young has the most starts with 11 and junior Conor Finch is second with six. Next on that list is senior Joe Lustgarten, who has made five starts after spending the last two seasons as a starting attackman.
As the Retrievers prepare for Thursday’s America East tournament semifinal against Hartford at Stony Brook, Lustgarten is slated to make his fifth consecutive start in the midfield. In the team’s last four contests, he has scored four goals on nine shots and assisted on five others.
“Joe’s a good player, and he’s been running midfield for us, and I think it’s a good position for him,” coach Don Zimmerman said Tuesday. “I think he’s adapted well to playing midfield, and he certainly is a benefit to us offensively. Joe’s a senior, he’s had a good career here, and I think right now, he’s playing his best lacrosse.”
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Lustgarten, who spent last season playing with senior attackmen Scott Jones and Matt Gregoire, has had to adapt to playing a different position and developing a chemistry with Young, Finch and others. But Zimmerman said Lustgarten’s experience has helped him adjust to new linemates and new responsibilities.
Getting Lustgarten, who leads the offense in assists with 17 and ranks fourth in points with 25, on the field is a nod towards grouping the top six offensive players.
“We’ve always been a team-oriented offense with the attack and midfield integrated together,” Zimmerman said. “So I don’t think it’s any different. We’ve got six guys on the field working together and trying to put points on the board, and that hasn’t changed.”