BALTIMORE – The UMBC men's soccer program will compete against five teams that reached the 2013 NCAA Championships during their 2014 campaign, head coach Pete Caringi, Jr. announced today.
The two-time defending America East Conference champions will also face eight squads that finished amongst in the top 50 in winning percentage in 2013. The Retrievers led the nation in winning percentage last season with a 16-1-3 (.875) mark.
UMBC opens the campaign by hosting the Doubletree BWI Classic on August 29 and 31 at Retriever Soccer Park (RSP). The Retrievers compete against two former Northeast Conference rivals during the weekend, facing Long Island University to open the season at 7:00p.m .on the 29th and welcoming Sacred Heart for a Sunday matinee at 1:00 p.m.
The biggest challenge occurs in the following weekend as the Retrievers travel to 2013 national finalist Maryland on Friday, Sept. 5. The 7:30 p.m. contest at Ludwig Field in College Park is part of UMBC and Navy's Hampton Inn BWI Classic. The Retrievers face first-time foe Appalachian State at RSP on Sunday at 1:00 p.m., with the Midshipmen hosting the Mountaineers on Sept. 5 and the Terrapins on Monday, Sept. 8.
UMBC will fly across the country to take on host UNLV and another first-time opponent, Cal State-Fullerton, in the UNLV Nike Invitational on Sept. 12 and 14 in Las Vegas. The Retrievers return to Baltimore and will host Loyola (Md.) on Saturday, Sept. 20, before road tests at 2013 NCAA Tournament squads George Mason (Sept. 24) and Delaware (Sept. 30).
At the midpoint of its America East slate, UMBC will face another NCAA Tournament side when they travel to Annapolis to battle Navy on Oct. 21.
"It's a very challenging non-conference schedule," said Caringi. "We want to play as many teams that went to the tournament as possible. There are some strong mid-week games against nationally-ranked teams that we are going to have to be at our best."
The Retrievers open defense of their 2013 America East regular season title when they welcome UMass-Lowell to Retriever Soccer Park on Saturday, Oct. 4. UMBC opens the league slate with three consecutive home matches, including the Homecoming contest versus Hartford (2:30 p.m.) on Saturday, Oct. 11.
UMBC will celebrate the careers of a program-record 11 seniors in the final regular season home contest versus Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 1.
The regular season concludes at Stony Brook on Wednesday, Nov. 5, prior to the six-team America East Championship, which commences on Saturday, Nov. 8.
"Each year, the conference has gotten stronger and stronger," Caringi said. "We have had a great run in the last couple of years, but there is not one easy game. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but are very aware of how strong the league is in general."
UMBC will face five squads (Maryland, William & Mary, George Mason, Delaware, Navy) which earned trips to the 2013 NCAA Tournament… The Retrievers will take on Appalachian State and Cal State-Fullerton in first meetings in 2014…UMBC has not played NEC members Long Island and Sacred Heart since the Retrievers departed that conference in 2002… They will face both in the Doubletree BWI Classic to open the 2014 campaign.