Short Handed UMBC Captures D2 Chesapeake Title

This past weekend saw the top 5 teams from the DII Chesapeake Conference converge on the Calverton School in Southern Maryland to battle for a trip to Annapolis and a shot at the DII National Championship.

Georgetown, Stevenson, George Mason, UMBC and the 2018 defending Chesapeake Conference champs, Catholic University, were all vying for a spot in the Elite DII Playoff Pool, which gets underway this Saturday at 9AM.

Georgetown and Stevenson met in the morning play-in game with the Hoyas (7-5) overwhelming the Mustangs 11-4. The loss snapped Stevenson’s 3 game winning streak, which included an impressive 7-4 win over Cabrini.

With the win, the Hoyas took on the UMBC Retrievers in the afternoon semifinal match. The Hoyas managed to hang with UMBC for 3 quarters before tired legs and some sharp shooting by the UMBC Midfield, particularly Nate Chen, lead the Retrievers to a 12-8 win.

In the other semifinal contest, George Mason defeated Catholic University 5-4 in OT. The Cardinals made it to the Elite 8 in 2018 but fell on hard times in this season, winning just 1 game. Mason had defeated Catholic earlier in the season, 5-3. With the win, GMU was set to meet UMBC in the D2 finals.

UMBC took an early 2-1 lead thanks in part to some solid goal-tending from Retriever net-minder Blake Hipsley. The Retrievers looked to take a 4-2 lead into halftime but GMU middie Adam Murray scored on a solo dodge to draw the Patriots to within 1.

The 3rd quarter saw UMBC middie Jake Brothers take over at the game. Brothers controlled most of his face-offs and provided a few key goals and assists as the Retrievers extended their lead to 6-3 five minutes into the 2nd half.

But Mason fought back and put a string of goals together late in the 3rd to make it a 7-7 ball game before Brothers bagged another goal, ripping the ball through the Patriot goalkeepers mesh! But the Patriots would quickly respond with a beautifully executed 4 on 3 fast break to tie the game once again, at 8 all.

After UMBC’s first midfield untied the game with a solo dodge, Retriever attackman Devon Shields made it 10-8 with a strong solo dodge from the left side of the cage. Shields netted 3 goals on the day for the Retrievers.

Mason would score its 9th goal on a man-up opportunity, but UMBC would add a few insurance goals to grab the win, 12-9.

UMBC will head to Annapolis this weekend along with 7 other DII schools to battle for the 2019 National Championship.

We spoke to UMBC Head Coach Marc Hoffman, who had nothing but praise for the way in which his Retriever squad out it all together. “We traveled here with only 14 guys but they all played really hard. They stepped up, played really well, but its been tough getting some of them to practice and keeping them in the right spot. But they’ve really come together these past few weeks and they’re a really tight group”, Hoffman stated.

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