UMBC goalie Kendall Mason could not have done much more to keep the Retrievers in Saturday's critical women's lacrosse game against New Hampshire.
The senior had eight saves and held the Wildcats to six goals. With those stats, a goalie should get the win, but the Retrievers committed too many costly fouls and did not take advantage of some great opportunities on offense, falling to the Wildcats, 6-5, in a game that cost them a berth in next weekend's America East tournament.
The Retrievers (8-8, 3-3 America East) drew three yellow cards — two of which cost them extra-man goals — and converted only two of seven free-position shots. They missed all three free-position shots in the second half as the Wildcats rallied from a 4-1 deficit to take their only lead on Kayleigh Hinkle's game-winning goal with 34.3 seconds left at UMBC Stadium.
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"Kendall's been amazing all year long," UMBC co-coach Tony Giro said. "Kendall played every minute of every game, took every shot in practice this year and played every minute. She's been nothing but phenomenal. She's the reason we were in this game in the first half, just like she's the reason we were in a lot of games this year we probably shouldn't have been in."
In the first half Saturday, Mason allowed just one goal and Shannon Harkey gave the Retrievers a 4-1 lead less than two minutes into the second half.
Five minutes later, the Retrievers got a yellow card and the Wildcats (6-10, 3-3) responded with Amber Casiano's goal on a feed from Hinkle.
That switched the momentum and Hinkle fed Jenny Simpson two minutes later to cut the UMBC lead to 4-3 with 20:16 to go. Harkey then assisted Michelle Platz to push the lead to 5-3 with 1:32 left, but the Wildcats finished it off with three straight goals.
After Casiano's extra-man free-position goal tied it at 5-5 — the first tie since 1-1 — the Wildcats won the draw, but the Retrievers forced a turnover with 4:42 left. They ran the clock down but turned it back over on the end line with 1:59 left.
Hinkle, a Glenelg graduate in her closest appearance to home this season, slipped past Retrievers defender Mary Milligan and sent a low shot past Mason.
"We had just made a great defensive stop and we wanted to work the ball around," said Hinkle, a sophomore attacker who finished with two goals and two assists. "We had run that play a few times and gotten goals off a bunch of different options, so this time they just didn't send a slide, so I just put it at her feet."
Mason knew what was coming.
"That girl had done that same move just about all game," Mason said, "and … I think once again a little lack of discipline. We went for a check and she was able to slip under and get a decent shot off."
Although the Retrievers lost their last five games, Mason held the final four opponents of her college career to an average of 8.5 goals. UMBC's offense, however, has managed just 5.75 goals in the last four games. Saturday, they shot 5-for-16.
UMBC co-coach Amy Appelt said the attackers passed up a few open shots and didn't use the fast break, something that favors their speedy players. But the biggest problem came on the eight-meter shots.
"We're 2-for-7 on free positions. That's the game right there," Appelt said. "That's a change in the ball game when you get an opportunity to take a shot when [the opposition's] not getting those opportunities as frequently. You need to capitalize on that and we didn't capitalize on those whether the goalie made a good save or we shot it right at her."
NH 1 5 -- 6
UMBC 3 2 -- 5
Goals: NH—Hinkle 2, Casiano 2, Puccia, Simpson; UMBC—Harkey, Lyons, Platz, Wilson, Nolan.
Assists: NH—Hinkle 2, Puccia; UMBC—Harkey. Saves: NH—O'Keefe 6; UMBC—Mason 8.