As anticipated, Wednesday night’s annual showdown between UMBC and top-ranked Maryland at Byrd Stadium in College Park has been postponed indefinitely because of the snowstorm blanketing the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area, and a makeup date is unlikely.
Retrievers coach Don Zimmerman and Terps coach John Tillman discussed the situation earlier Wednesday morning, and both universities canceling classes Wednesday aided the decision to call off the contest.
“We know how important it is to the kids, and I’m sure Coach Zim would like to play it, too,” Tillman said. “Just safety-wise, if you saw the reports and you saw what we’re seeing right now, they’ve already canceled school at both universities. That sends a message, and the weather report is calling for heavier snow later today and potentially 30-to-40 miles-per-hour winds. We would be doing a disservice to our kids by putting our kids out there. And if the visibility is bad, you’re looking at guys that can shoot the ball 90 or 100 miles per hour at a goalie who can’t see the ball coming at him. We wouldn’t be doing right by the players, and that’s the No. 1 thing for us.”
Added Zimmerman: “We knew there could be some issues. ... Both schools are closed and just the condition of the field and with it expected to get worse, you’ve got to think about your players’ safety first. And there would be people driving in to see the game. It’s just not a smart thing to do.”
Rescheduling the game may not be possible. Due to tight schedules, neither team could make up the game on a Saturday or Sunday, which would leave open the possibility of another midweek date. But with the Terps meeting Atlantic Coast Conference rivals on March 23 and 30 and the Retrievers facing America East opponents on March 30 and April 6, 13, 19 and 27, one team would likely have to break up a week of preparation for a league opponent with a nonconference contest.
“Maryland’s in a conference, we’re in a conference, and we both have important games,” Zimmerman said. “We say all along that the first half of our season is designed to get us ready for the conference because that’s going to be the key. We can’t lose that perspective. The conference comes first now.”
Said Tillman: “I’m sensitive that he’s got an automatic bid situation in his conference and getting into the top four in that conference is super important. And obviously, we’re sensitive to our conference games and making sure that we get the rest and preparation that we want to get.”