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MEN'S SOCCER FACES NORTHEASTERN IN KEY AMERICA EAST SHOWDOWN
Just about. UMBCand Northeastern are tied for seventh place in the conference with three games left to play. The top six teams advance to the league tournament and last year’s regular season champion (UMBC) and tournament finalist (Northeastern) are on the outside looking in with a full slate of games today.
HOME, SWEET HOME
UMBC is 4-0-1 at home this season as they continue to play outstanding soccer at UMBC Soccer Stadium. The Retrievers had a brief hiccough in 2002, but have been dominant since the Soccer Stadium has hosted games, beginning in 1998. In that span, UMBC is 43-8-8, with 3 losses and 2 ties occurring in the 2002 campaign. UMBC has not lost a regular season home game since falling to Navy, 3-1, in September of 2002. They are 12-0-5 in that span. UMBC is 5-1-2 vs. America East Conference opponents at UMBC Soccer Stadium. Their lone loss occured against this Northeastern team, a 1-0 setback in the America East semi-final contest last season.
SPEAKING OF HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE
Through the first 15 America East Conference games, the home team did not suffer a defeat. Home teams are 16-6-8 through Wednesday’s games with last place Hartford owning half of the six losses.
LAST TIME OUT
UMBC is 0-3-1 in its last four Wednesday starts, with all games occuring on the road. This past Wednesday, UMBC dropped a 3-1 decision to AEC defending champion, Binghamton. UMBC spotted the Bearcats a 2-0 halftime lead, but halved the deficit on David Feazell’s third goal of the year in the 69th minute. Several minutes later, UMBC appeared to tie the game, but George Bakoulas scored on a “cut-back” pass from Powell Cucchiella was ruled offsides. Binghamton scored the insurance on a counter-attack with six minutes remaining.
SERIES HISTORY WITH NORTHEASTERN
The two teams met twice last season, with games resulting a 2-2 overtime tie in Boston, and NU’s 1-0 win in the conference semi-finals in Baltimore. Derek McElligott scored a pair of goals in UMBC’s debut contest in the America East, including the game-tying goal with 3:14 remaining. The Retriever outshot NU, 11-5, in the league semi-final game, but a Huskie goal in the eleventh minute held up as UMBC was blanked against an AE foe for the only time in 2003.
HUSKY CAPSULE: Northeastern is winless in six straight games, recording four consecutive ties before losses to UNH (1-0) and Boston University (2-0). NU has struggled to score, with just seven goals in 13 games, and Michael Cipriano is the Huskies’ lone multiple-goal scorer with a pair of goals on the season.
UMBC will honors its four seniors before today’s contest. George Bakoulas, Derek McElligott, Danny Mongello, and Mike Pennacchia have all earned four letters and each has been a part of two regular season league titles. Freshman Matt Watson (7 assists in 10 games) and junior Powell Cucchiella (pictured right) (now 9 assists in 12 games) ranked nos. 4 and 5 (tied) respectively in NCAA assists. UMBC was tied for eighth in the nation entering play this week by averaging 2.4 goals per game. Junior netminder Andy Marchica was credited with 11 saves vs. Binghamton, his career high.