The UMBC men's soccer team begins pursuit of its third America East Tournament title in four years on Wednesday, Nov. 13 when the top-seeded Retrievers (14-1-2) host fifth-seeded Albany (6-10-4) in a conference semifinal match at Retriever Soccer Park. UMBC captured the regular season title with an undefeated league mark of 5-0-2 and earned a bye in the semifinal round and home field throughout the tournament. Albany, which secured a spot on the last day of the regular season, overwhelmed host Vermont, 5-1, in the first round on Saturday. Live stats and live video (www.umbcretrievers.tv) and more information is available at America East's Championship Central.
UMBC won its first America East regular season crown since 2003 after completing an undefeated (5-0-2) conference season. They are attempting to win their third tournament title an NCAA automatic bid in the last four years.
UMBC remained at No. 6 in the Continental Tire/NSCAA Coaches' poll as of Nov. 12. The Retrievers also remained at No. 6 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll to and moved up one notch to No. 7 in College Soccer News' poll.
UMBC was unbeaten in 18 consecutive contests (15-0-3) prior to falling, 1-0, in double OT versus Delaware on Oct. 1. It was the longest unbeaten streak since 1999, when that championship squad went 19-0-2 in the regular season.
The Retrievers have advanced to the second round in the NCAA Championships twice in three seasons. The 2012 season marked UMBC's third NCAA College Cup appearance overall, having earned a bid in 1999.
SR F Pete Caringi III was named Disney/NSCAA Player of the Week and College Soccer News' Player of the Week for games ending Sept. 1 and Sept. 8 respectively.
Entering play this week, UMBC leads the nation in winning percentage (.882) and are tied for second in victories (14). The Retrievers are tied for 16th in scoring offense (1.94 gpg) and 14th (0.64) in scoring defense. UMBC has not allowed a goal in its last 412 minutes of action.
The 14 victories for UMBC are the most since also recording 14 in 2009.
TOP DOG: In 23 seasons under Head Coach Pete Caringi, Jr., UMBC is 143-47-28 (.720) at home and the Retrievers are 84-20-22 (.754) in 126 games on the Bermuda turf of Retriever Soccer Park. The Retriever mentor has an overall record of 244-144-53 (.613) during his tenure on Hilltop Circle and in 32 years as a head coach, he is 414-171-61 (.688).
Caringi has led UMBC to three NCAA appearances in his tenure (1999, 2010, 2012). He has the most victories of any soccer coach in school history, and his 244 wins are the third-most of any Retriever mentor. He was the Northeast Conference Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002 and the America East Conference Coach of the Year in 2005.
The Retrievers have never had back-to-back sub-.500 seasons under Caringi and have posted winning marks in 18 of his 23 seasons at the helm.
RETRIEVER RECAP: UMBC junior midfielder Michael DiCesare 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 on Nov. 6. The Retrievers extended their unbeaten streak to seven on DiCesare's first career goal.
INSIDE THE SERIES
This will be the 12th meeting between the Retrievers and the Great Danes. The Retrievers lead the overall series with a record of 5-4-2, and are 4-0-1 when playing at Retriever Soccer Park. The two teams have never faced one another in postseason play.
THE LAST MEETING
Eighth-ranked UMBC shook off a tough opening half and outplayed visiting Albany over the final 65 minutes, but could not dent the net and the two teams battled to a 0-0 double-overtime draw before a Homecoming Day crowd of 1,758 at UMBC Stadium.
SCOUTING THE GREAT DANES
The best team offensive output since 2008 saw 5-seed UAlbany score five consecutive goals, leading to a 5-1 victory at 4-seed Vermont to advance the Great Danes into the America East semifinals on Saturday. JR M Pomare Te Anau scored his first two goals of the season in the 7th and 54th minutes to pace the Albany attack. JR F Brandon Wilson leads a balanced UA attack with four goals as eleven different Great Danes have hit the nets on the season. Albany started the campaign at 1-7-2, but are 5-3-2 since that point.
IN AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT PLAY
UMBC has now reached the America East Tournament in five consecutive years and eight times in 11 years. The Retrievers are 4-5-3 in seven previous championship appearances. The Retrievers have fared well in semifinal contests, winning the last three (2009, 2010, 2012) after a loss in 2007. UMBC won the America East Championship as the No. 2 seed in 2010 and 2012. At home, UMBC is 2-3-2 in tournament play, and 1-2-2 at Retriever Soccer Park.
Kadeem Dacres is the lone Retriever to score a goal in America East Tournament play, as he tallied the game-winner vs. Stony Brook in last season's semifinals. Saunders has a record of 3-1-1 in five appearances.