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MEN'S SOCCER FACES "MUST-WIN" GAME VS. HARTFORD ON WEDNESDAY AND NEEDS HELP TO EARN PLAYOFF SPOT FOR SATURDAY
HERE’S THE SITUATION: The Retrievers must defeat Hartford in today’s regular season finale and get some help from either New Hampshire or Northeastern. The Wildcats must win or tie at Vermont today and UMBC would get in via a tie-breaker with the Catamounts. A Northeastern win at Stony Brook tonight would push the Retrievers ahead of the Seawovles, yet the Retrievers win the tie-breaker with the Huskies. UMBC could be no higher than a five-seed for the America East Tournament, which begins at the higher seed on Saturday.
HOME, SWEET HOME
UMBC is 5-0-2 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 44-8-9, 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 13-0-6 in that span. UMBC is 5-1-2 vs. America East Conference opponents at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
UMBC is 0-3-2 in its last four Wednesday starts.
UMBC fell to seventh place in the America East and now needs help to avoid missing their first conference tournament 1994…UMBC concluded the road portion of the America East schedule at 0-5 in the wake of the 2-0 loss at Boston University…ironically, UMBC played the top four teams (and Stony Brook, currently tied for fifth) in the league on the road in 2004…the Retrievers were blanked in back-to-back games for the first time this season and for the time time since the final two games of the 2002 campaign…UMBC had not been blanked in back-to-back regular season games since the final two contests of the 1997 season…the statistical battle with the Terriers was dead even, as both teams had ten shots, six shots on goal, and five corners…but UMBC is 0-5-1 this season when allowing the game's first goal...the Retrievers are in jeopardy of having their streak of consecutive winning seasons come to an end…UMBC has record better than .500 records in each of the past six seasons…freshman goalkeeper Josh Osit got the start vs. Howard and earned his first career shutout…he is 0-0-2 in two starts in 2004.
SERIES HISTORY WITH HARTFORD
This will be the third meeting between the two teams, but the first in Baltimore. The two teams played to a 0-0 tie in 1989, and UMBC won the first America East meeting, 3-0, last season. Derek McElligott scored a pair of goals and George Bakoulas got the game-winning goal and assisted on another in the victory.
HAWK CAPSULE: Hartford is winless in its last 13 games after getting off to a 2-1 start, but seven of its ten losses have occured by one goal. They have been pesky on the road, recording ties at Boston Univ. and Vermont, an overtime loss at Northeastern and a 1-0 setback at Binghamton. Forward Alon Lubezky is one of the league’s top forwards, standing in second place in the America East with 10 goals and 25 points.
UMBC PLAYER NOTES
Freshman midfielder Matt Watson tallied a pair of assists vs. Northeastern and is first in the conference with 9 assists in 12 games. Powell Cucchiella is second with 9 assists in 16 contests. Goalkeeper Andy Marchica recorded his 12th career shutout vs. Northeastern and has moved into fourth place on UMBC’s all-time list in that category. He has also moved into ninth place on UMBC’s all-time saves list with 121. Derek McElligott became the first Retriever ever to record 200 shots (211) in a career. McElligott has not scored a goal in six straight games, dating back to a two-goal effort vs. Vermont. That is the longest drought of his career, dating back to a four-game “goal-less” streak to conclude his freshman (2001) season.