Despite Friday night’s 16-10 setback to No. 11 and America East foe Albany, UMBC is in the driver’s seat regarding its entry into the conference tournament. If the team defeats Binghamton this Saturday at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville, the Retrievers will finish in the top four of the league standings and lock up a spot in the tournament.
A loss would drop UMBC to 5-8 overall and 2-3 in the America East and into a tie with the Bearcats, who would improve to 6-8 and 2-3 respectively. Stony Brook (7-7, 2-2) and Hartford (6-6, 2-2) could also finish with identical 2-3 league marks, which would entail a number of tiebreaking scenarios.
But if Binghamton and the Retrievers are the only teams that finish with 2-3 records, the Bearcats would get the final berth in the conference tournament via the head-to-head tiebreaker.
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For now, however, UMBC knows that if the team wins Saturday, it’s in.
“I think we control our own destiny, and that’s the way it should be,” coach Don Zimmerman said Monday morning. “We’ve got Binghamton coming in, and it’s Senior Day. Last year, they really took it to us up there. So our focus and motivation is going to be on Binghamton this Saturday.”
The Retrievers are vying for their 10th tournament appearance in 10 seasons in the conference, and Zimmerman appreciated that the team does not have to rely on a league rival to secure a berth in the America East tournament.
“I think it’s nice to be able to control your own destiny and not have to worry about depending on another team to determine the outcome of what’s going to happen with you,” he said. “That’s what you want. You want to be able to control your own destiny, and that’s what we have on Saturday.”
In Friday night’s loss to the Great Danes, UMBC surrendered eight goals to junior attackman Ty Thompson and sophomore attackman Lyle Thompson added four goals and seven assists. Zimmerman said the players should remember that setback.
“You can’t completely forget that,” he said. “We’re watching the film now and seeing what we did wrong and what we did well. We’ve got to improve on our weaknesses and try to limit our mistakes. … But we can’t just forget about it. Our opponents see the film and are going to try to exploit our weaknesses, and we’ve got to shore them up and be a better lacrosse team on Saturday.”