BALTIMORE - UMBC senior midfielder Geaton Caltabiano (Lothian, Md./Mount St. Joseph) converted on a free kick with only 6:27 remaining as the host Retrievers edged America East Conference rival Hartford, 2-1, before 1,374 fans at Retriever Soccer Park.
UMBC, which has won three straight contests, celebrated its Homecoming by improving to 6-4-2 overall and 2-0-0 in league play. Harford slipped to 5-5-2, 0-2-0. The contest was a rematch of last year's America East title game played at Retriever Soccer Park, and also captured by the hosts, 4-0.
The Retrievers are now unbeaten in 14 consecutive America East regular season contests (12-0-2) and unblemished in its last 18 contests versus league foes.
The game-winning goal was set up as UMBC sophomore midfielder Michael Burgos (Huntingtown, Md.) was fouled just outside the box. Caltabiano set the ball down just left of the center of the field, twenty yards away from the goal. His right-footed effort went left of the Hawk wall, eluded a diving Hartford netminder David Mackinnon and tucked into the right corner of the goal.
It was Caltabiano's fourth goal of the season and first since tallying against Cal State-Fullerton on Sept. 14.
UMBC struck quickly, as senior midfielder Stephen Ho (North Potomac, Md./Wootton) struck in the fifth minute. Ho and senior forward Kay Banjo (Upper Marlboro, Md./Largo/Towson U.) worked a perfect give-and-go on the right edge of the box and Ho converted for the second time in 2014 from nine yards out.
The Retrievers were the dominant side in the first 45 minutes, nearly making it 2-0 as Banjo hit the post and two follow-up chances were denied in the 26'.
But Hartford found life in the second half and nearly tied the game in the 48' as Romario Jones' shot was headed for the upper right corner of the net. But UMBC senior defender Jordan Becker (Pocomoke, Md./Pokomoke) headed it wide of the goal to keep the game scoreless.
The Hawks would get the game-tying goal in the 63rd minute of play off a corner kick. Udi Cohen's effort from the right side found the head of Jhamie Hyde and the junior back converted from six yards out.
UMBC outshot UH, 13-7, and Retriever red-shirt sophomore Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) made four saves to earn his third consecutive victory. Mackinnon replied with two stops for the Hawks.
The Retrievers improved 9-5-2 versus Hartford in the all-time series and have now won four straight.
UMBC hosts Binghamton (2-0-0 AE) in an early battle for first place in the conference on Wednesday evening, Oct. 15. Kick-off time is set for 7:00 p.m.