September 25, 2013

Men's Soccer Extends Streak to Eight Straight With 1-0 Blanking of George Mason

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BALTIMORE- UMBC senior midfielder Travis Dennis (Bowie, Md./Eleanor Roosevel) scored the game's lone goal in the 41st minute as the 11th-ranked Retrievers (8-0-0) blanked George Mason (4-2-1), 1-0, before 1,150 at Retriever Soccer Park.

UMBC, one of two undefeated and untied teams in the nation (Dayton at 7-0-0 is the other), extended its unbeaten streak to 17 (14-0-3), dating back to 2012.

The victory was the Retrievers' first by shutout in 2013. Senior goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall) made four saves to record his 18th career shutout.

The Retrievers outshot the Patriots, 13-8 and evened the all-time series at 6-6-1. Mason has dropped two straight since opening at 4-0-1 and earning an NSCAA ranking of 23 a week ago.

"I thought defensively tonight we played excellent (soccer) against some good forwards," said head coach Pete Caringi. "I really like how this team has been focusing on each game, getting better, each practice getting better and as long as we do that, good things are going to happen."

UMBC controlled much of the first half action and held the Patriots without a shot for 37 minutes until GMU defender Hugh Roberts' header whizzed by the left post.

The Retrievers would capitalize on one of five first half corner kicks. Junior Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) took the corner from the right side and the Patriot defense could only clear to the left edge of the box. Dennis, who had entered the game in the 33rd minute, ran on to the ball, and stung a right-footed shot which found the net just inside the near post with 4:12 to play in the stanza.

It was Dennis' first goal of the season and just the second of his career.

UMBC outshot Mason, 9-2 in the first 45 minutes, but the visitors did threaten more often in the final 45. But the best chance of the half belonged to Retriever senior midfielder Kadeem Dacres (Rosedale, N.Y.), who struck the woodwork for the second time of the evening in the 78th minute. His 19-yard blast beat GMU netminder Steffen Kraus, but struck the post to the keeper's right and UMBC could not corral the rebound.

Mason could only manage three shots in the final 28 minutes of the contest.

The eight consecutive victories for UMBC knots their third-longest streak in school history. The 1991 squad also won eight straight, while the 2009 squad captured nine in a row and the school record of 13 consecutive victories is held by the 1999 team. The 2009 team's run came in the first nine games of the season.

UMBC continues its three-game homestand by welcoming George Washington (3-4-0) to Retriever Soccer Park on Saturday evening (7:00 p.m.).