DiCesare's Late Goal Propels Men's Soccer to 1-0 Victory Over Stony Brook, America East Regular Season Title
BALTIMORE - UMBC junior midfielder Michael DiCesare(Westerville, Ohio) scored the game's lone goal with 2:35 remaining and the host Retrievers blanked Stony Brook, 1-0, to clinch its first America East regular season title since 2003.
The sixth-ranked Retrievers extended their unbeaten streak to seven and improved to 14-1-2 overall and 5-0-2 in league play. Stony Brook, which was eliminated from post-season play with the setback, fell to 6-10-1, 1-5-1.
The Retrievers will be the No. 1 seed for the America East Conference Championships and will host a semifinal match on Wednesday, Nov. 13 vs. the winner of Saturday's first round match between No. 5 Albany at No. 4 Vermont.
"We are excited to accomplish one of our goals for the year, to win a regular season championship and put ourselves in position to host the America East Conference Tournament," head coach Pete Caringi, Jr.said. "We get some time off to recover and then prepare to play our best game in the semifinals."
UMBC attacked furiously throughout the contest, outshooting the visitors, 18-8. But they could not break through until the closing moments. After the Seawolves repelled one of the Retrievers' frequent attacks, they could only clear the ball as far as the 25-yard line. UMBC senior midfielder Kadeem Dacres quickly served the ball back into the box, where DiCesare was stationed eight yards from the goal. The junior just managed to graze the ball, but directed it perfectly inside the right post, setting off a wild celebration by the partisan 1,436 fans at Retriever Soccer Park.
"The atmosphere was electric," said Caringi, Jr.
The goal was the first of DiCesare's three-year tenure with the Retrievers.
UMBC senior goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall) made a pair of saves to record his fourth consecutive shutout. The Retrievers have not allowed a goal in the last 412 minutes of action.
Stony Brook netminder Carlos Villa was outstanding for his side, making 10 saves in a hectic 90 minutes of work.
The Seawolves' best opportunity occurred in the 22nd minute, as reserve defender Troy Manheimer hit the crossbar with a shot and Saunders' had to tip a subsequent rebound by Will Casey over the net.
Ninety seconds later, UMBC nearly broke on top, but sophomore midfielder Malcolm Harris(Damascus, Md./McDonogh) misfired from seven yards out.
The Retrievers had three excellent chances in the second half, but Villa made saves on junior midfielder Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) on a direct kick just three minutes into the stanza and kicked out a heroic attempt by senior forward Pete Caringi III (Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall) with 13 minutes remaining in regulation.
Midway through the half, UMBC junior back Oumar Ballo (Baltimore, Md./Archbishop Curley) had a good look at a header, but his attempt from close quarters went just wide of the near left post.
UMBC improved to 9-6-0 vs. Stony Brook and each of the last three results have been 1-0 Retriever victories.
Notes: Saunders moved into second place on UMBC's all-time list with his 23rd career shutout… The 14 wins by UMBC equals its most since joining America East… The Retrievers went 14-6-0 in 2009.