The 2009 season is finally getting underway. After a long winter of over 10 feet of snow, it is time to get the boathouse jacket out, the grill cleaned off, and head out to watch some great lacrosse.
This valentine’s weekend tell her you lover her with tickets to the UMBC/Delaware game.
It is my game of the week pick, and will be a great challenge to both teams right from the gate.
UMBC at Delaware
UMBC is carrying a heavy load of expectation this year. The Retrievers had their best season ever last year posting a 12-4 record (undefeated in conference play), and falling just 1 goal short against UVA in the 1st round of the NCAA playoffs.
They look to continue their success this year and go even farther, as they returned 9 of 10 starters…that was until top defenseman Bobby Atwell went down with an ACL injury, and their top attackman Smith is rehabbing his knee. Smith might not be as effective due to his injury, however, his supporting cast should be able to pick up any slack. Linemates Matt Latham, and either Chris Jones scored 38 goals last year, and are joined by a very promising freshman in Rob Grimm. UMBC’s first midfield looks solid with Wimer, Hopmann, and transfer Poillon who combined for 64 goals last season. UMBC’s starting defense and goalie all return this year, looking stronger than before.
The only weakness for UMBC is mental. They have a habit of playing up or down to their opponents. Last year, UMBC looked a bit overrated as they were blown out by Delaware (7-15), and Rutgers (4-13). They also struggled against teams they should have easily handled in close wins over Yale (11-9), Binghamton (6-5 in OT), and Vermont (8-6). On the flipside, they beat Maryland, OSU, Albany twice, and lost to Hopkins by 2 and UVA by 1.
The Blue Hens of Delaware return 19 players from last years squad including standout attackman Curtis Dickson who posted 46 goals last season. Dickson will need to lead an inexperienced unit that aside from his numbers, combined for 5 goals last season. Delaware also has the ability to score from midfield with Martin Cahill and Beau Davis a duo that put up 52 points last year. On Defense, the hens have a very strong close unit with Pat Dowling and Tim Langmaid. What hurts their defense is the loss of goalie Tommy Scherr. Noah Fossner steps between the pipes this season. In his first start last week against St. Josephs, he allowed only 2 goals on 11 shots.
It is this unknown of Fossner that is Delaware’s weakness this year. If he can step in seamlessly to the vacancy between the pipes, Delaware looks to have a solid year.
This game should be an excellent match up with no blowout this year. It is going to come down to UMBC’s defense. Can they stop the Hens’ figure out how to stop Dickson and Cahill who single-handedly scored more than all of UMBC last year?
I think UMBC is a solid team this year, but I think Delaware still pulls out a marginal win 10-8.
Tell me what you think? Who is going to win this game? What is YOUR pick for the best game to watch?
Every Thursday night I will be posting previews of the best games to watch. Stay tuned and follow me through the season.