(Photo Courtesy of UMBC Athletics)
In just the third year of the Ryan Moran era in Catonsville, the UMBC Retrievers achieved something which they hadn’t done in a decade: win their conference and get that NCAA Tournament bid.
The Retrievers magical 2019 season, which saw them beat Marist in the NCAA play-in game before losing to Penn State in the first round, signaled the direction in which Moran and his staff had this program headed. And in the two seasons following, that upward trajectory has continued. UMBC went 4-1 during the shortened 2020 season to mark the program’s first winning season (albeit a short one) since 2014 before going 8-3 (7-2 America East) and falling to UAlbany, 14-12, in the conference semifinals as the top seed this past season.
While UMBC ultimately fell short of repeating as America East champions this past spring, it was certainly not due to a lack of talent. And with much of it returning in 2022, the Retrievers could very well see themselves back on top of the conference sooner rather than later. And who knows, maybe were are on the bring of seeing a new perennial top dog (no pun intended) arise in an America East that has increasingly become more competitive in recent years.
Offensively, the Retrievers ended last season as the nation’s 34th-best and America East’s fourth-best scoring offense (10.82 goals per game) and saw a pair of fifth-year players, Ryan Frawley and Brett McIntyre, help lead the way. While the aforementioned two, as well as Trevor Patschorke are all gone and leave sizable holes on that end of the field, UMBC still returns enough talent on that end to possibly sustain the success they saw last season.
Junior attackman Nick Dupuis (23G/16A) and senior midfielder Brandon Galloway (24G/3A) return to lead and headline this offense after being the team’s top two point-getters last season. With Dupuis back running things at the attack spot and Galloway returning after a season in which he was the team’s top goal scorer, this offense has the talent, at least at the top, needed to be successful once again in 2022. Additionally, a number of players are expected to step up and make big impacts with the number of losses this unit has from last season.
Senior midfielder Taylor Bohanan (7G/4A), who played in 10 games with nine starts last season, as well as junior attackman Mike Doughty (3G/5A) and midfielder Dane Hall (5G/3A) are just a few names that could see an increased role and bump in production this season. Doughty was the Retrievers’ top reserve attackman while Hall played in all 11 games with seven starts at midfield. Howard CC transfer Drew Goode is also a player to watch on that end of the field for UMBC this spring as he comes to Catonsville after being the second-leading point-getter for the Dragons last season, tallying 19 points off 10 goals and nine assists.
Many questions surrounded this UMBC defense heading into last spring with Jamison Koesterer having left to take the offensive coordinator position at Johns Hopkins. And despite only having Craig Chick on staff on a volunteer basis, the Retriever’s defense continued to soar high, ranking 6th nationally in scoring defense (9.55 goals allowed per game).
With Craig Chick having been promoted to the role of defensive coordinator over the summer and much of the talent that has graced the back end for this team for multiple years returning, it’s hard not to see UMBC continuing to trot out one of the best defense in the nation and the America East again this coming spring.
The Retrievers’ top pole in Colin Kasner (23GB/14CT) and goalie Tommy Lingner, who has been the starter in cage since his freshman season and is coming off 118-save (.529% save percentage), headline this defense coming into the season. A pair of juniors in LSM Ricky Fedorchak (19GB/13CT) and Tony Diallo (16GB/13CT) are expected to make significant impacts once again.
Ethan Robinson is one of multiple guys who could see increased roles on the back end for this squad following a strong freshman campaign in which he scooped up 10 ground balls, caused five turnovers, and scored a goal in eight appearances as a reserve pole.
Junior Mason Edwards returns as the Retrievers’ top SSDM following a 2021 campaign that saw him thrive at the position, grabbing a team-high 35 ground balls, along with faceoff man Alex Poma, causing one turnover, and dish out two assists. Along with the aforementioned Fedorchak, Edwards is expected to, again, be one of the leaders of that UMBC rope unit.
UMBC also returns their top option at the faceoff dot in Alex Poma. Serving as the team’s No. 1 at the position for the first two seasons, Poma put together a 2021 campaign that saw him go 101-for-214 (47%) at the dot. That is good for sixth-best in the America East in faceoff with percentage, so the junior will certainly be looking to improve this season.