The UMBC men's soccer team took ninth-seeded North Carolina to the limit, but the Retrievers were unable to advance to the third round of the Men's Soccer Championship, tying the Tar Heels, 0-0, after two overtimes, but coming up short, 3-2, in the penalty kick shootout.
The 2012 team, which finished the season at 11-4-7, matched the 2010 team, which also had their season come to an end in the second round after a penalty kick shootout setback at Wiliam & Mary.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with not getting the result, but I am very proud of our team,” head coach Pete Caringi said. “Our stretch run here in the last couple of weeks has been amazing. This week alone, to have to go to Old Dominion and then come down here to play the defending champs, and we are penalty kicks away from advancing, is a tremendous credit to the group that I have in that locker room.”
UMBC reached the second round after advancing, 4-2, in penalty kicks at Old Dominion on Thursday night. They returned home in the early morning hours on Friday and reboarded the bus to travel to Chapel Hill late Saturday morning.
The Retrievers did not allow a goal in the final 531 minutes of the season, but ran into the best squad in the nation statistically on defense. UNC entered the contest allowing a nation-low six goals in 2012 and goalkeeper Scott Goodwin posted his 16th shutout of the year.
UMBC junior netminder Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall) was brilliant again, posting his tenth shutout of the season. He made four saves in the contest.
UMBC built momentum slowly throughout the game, which peaked in the 20 minutes of overtime play. The Retrievers had a pair of late corner kicks, and freshman forward Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland) out-of-the air volley with exactly one minute remaining just sailed wide of the upper right corner of the net.
As they had in the two previous shootouts, UMBC went first, but senior midfielder Milo Kapor’s (Toronto, Ont./Emily Carr) effort was saved by Goodwin. Carolina’s Cameron Brown converted, and after UMBC sophomore midfielder Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) and UNC’s Martin Murphy tallied, the Heels led, 2-1, after two rounds.
Senior back Liam Paddock (Worcestershire, England) evened the shootout at 2-2, but Carolina hit its third consecutive attempt to reclaim the lead. In the fourth round, both shooters were denied, but senior midfielder Dave Vaeth’s (Dundalk, Md./Patapsco) effort was stopped by a diving Goodwin.
Carolina had the territorial advantage in the first 45 minutes and attempted seven corners, but could not we push anything across. Junior forward Pete Caringi (Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall) checked into the lineup in the 17th minute and recorded UMBC’s lone shot of the half, putting a 13-yard header on target, but it was routinely saved by Tar Heel netminder Scott Goodwin.
After Carolina had control in the opening stages of the second half, UMBC battled back offensively and attempted five second-half shots. Saunders made the best stop of the game in the 62’, as UNC’s Cameron Brown had a volley right in front of the cage, but the Retriever netminder made a kick-save to keep the game scoreless.
Caringi started the overtime period, but came out a few mintues in and did not return, suffering the effects of the ankle injury that he sustained a eight days ago vs. New Hampshire.
“We lost to a very good team, a championship team, so we have nothing to hold our heads down about,” Caringi said. “”I am very proud of these guys and what they accomplished since they’ve been here. They put UMBC on the map in soccer.”