It was preparation night for both UMBC and Johns Hopkins on Friday at Homewood Field.
The outcome went as expected, as No. 10 Hopkins controlled the game from start to finish in a 13-7 victory, but both coaches seemed more concerned about upcoming games.
Up next for the Blue Jays (5-1) is Syracuse at the Carrier Dome, while the Retrievers (1-4) continue to prepare for their conference schedule in the American East.
The Blue Jays had too much firepower for UMBC, as attackman Zach Palmer scored three goals and fellow attackmen Wells Stanwick, Ryan Brown and midfielder John Ranagan each added two.
Hopkins coach Dave Pietramala was also impressed with his short stick midfielders on defense and goalie Pierce Bassett, who finished with 11 saves.
After losing to Princeton, 11-8, on March 1, the Blue Jays have rebounded with two straight wins. But against UMBC, the Retrievers held a 34-28, advantage in groundballs. That's a statistic that would hurt against the Orange.
"I already told them we're going to get to work on ground balls on Monday," Pietramala said. "In a game like that [against Syracuse], you can't afford to lose the possession battle. It's never easy when you travel up to the Carrier Dome. The good thing is we have an experienced group that has gone up there and has had some success there.
"[The Orange] are playing pretty good defense, not surrendering a lot of goals and they seemed to have figured things out in the goal. We don't feel we put our best foot forward against Princeton. We felt like we left a lot of plays out on the field. The key is we don't leave a lot on the table in this one."
UMBC coach Don Zimmerman expressed his disappointment about the loss to Hopkins, but the Retrievers hung tough. They might have found their starting goalie in Wes DiRito, who made his first career start and finished with nine saves.
Besides outhustling the Blue Jays, they also outshot them, 35-33. The major difference, though, was in the first half when UMBC had 11 turnovers compared to three for Hopkins.
But with an upcoming schedule which includes teams like High Point, Towson, Vermont and Stony Brook, UMBC won't be facing sharpshooters that can make them pay on each mistake like the Blue Jays did.
"We fell behind early and shot ourselves in the foot turning the ball over," Zimmerman said. "You can't give a team like Hopkins a five-goal lead. This is a team in the past when we fell behind we had trouble stopping the bleeding, but tonight we did a better job of that."
"I told our team after the game we don't like to lose, and they are not happy. We wanted to leave Homewood Field a better team than we arrived, and I think we did."
The Blue Jays led 5-0 at the end of the first quarter and were never seriously challenged for the remainder of the game.
The Retrievers came within three, 5-2, after midfielder Pat Young split two defenders and scored with 4:03 left in the half, but Hopkins scored twice in the remaining time. Attackman John Kaestner scored on a feed from Stanwick with 2:52 left in the half, and Palmer scored off a sneaky 12-foot shot with 1:03 remaining in the second quarter.
Palmer also had two goals in the first quarter as the Blue Jays outshot UMBC, 10-5, in the period.