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MEN'S SOCCER SET TO OPEN '05 CAMPAIGN VS. GEORGIA SOUTHERN AT NAVY'S ANDERS SOCCER CLASSIC ON FRIDAY
2OTH SEASON OF DIVISION I SOCCER: UMBC will open its 20th season of Division I soccer when they take on Georgia Southern at the Anders Soccer Classic on September 2. UMBC is 202-134-32 (.592) in 19 years of Division I competition and 338-249-64 (.568) in 38 seasons. The Retrievers have recorded seven straight winning campaigns and posted a .500 mark or better in all but three (1986, 1988, 1997) Division I seasons.
HOME, SWEET HOME: UMBC was 6-0-2 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 45-8-9 (.798), 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 14-0-6 in that span. UMBC is 6-1-2 vs. America East Conference opponents at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
STREAK HALTED: UMBC had qualified for its conference’s post season tournament for nine straight seasons until a seventh-place finish (4-5 America East, 8-6-3 overall) last season. The Retrievers’ last early November vacation occured in 1994, when they also posted a record of better than .500 (9-8-1).
NICE DEBUTS: The Retrievers have won 14 of their last 15 season debuts. A 2-1 loss to Hofstra in 2003 is the lone blemish on that mark. This will be the first time since 1998 that UMBC did not open at home in their Kick Off Classic. That event, the Coca-Cola/adidas Kick Off Classic, will take place next weekend.
DUELING HOME SITES: UMBC will play its four September home games and a pair of October contests on newly-renovated UMBC Stadium’s Momentum Turf surface. The other four games will take place at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
HIGH PRAISE: America East coaches picked UMBC third in the pre-season league men’s soccer poll. Defending champion Boston University was the unanimous pick to retake the title, followed by Binghamton, UMBC and Stony Brook.
UMBC finished last season tied for 28th in the nation in offense, scoring 2.0 goals per game. On the side of the ball, the Retrievers were 27th in shutout percentage, with seven shutouts in 17 decisions.
The Retrievers played today’s foe, Georgia Southern, for the first time ever at the adidas Kick Off Classic last season and the game ended in a 1-1 overtime tie. Senior midfielder Steve Goddard score the Retriever goal. UMBC has never faced Niagara in men’s soccer and, although they will not face one another this weekend, the Retrievers will host the Midshipmen on October 12.
UMBC PLAYER NOTES
Sophomore Matt Watson, the 2004 America East Midfielder and Rookie of the Year, finished ninth in the nation with 0.60 assists per game in 2004...senior Powell Cucchiella, who led UMBC with 21 points in ‘04, was 13th with 0.53 assists per outing...Watson and senior back Marcus Gross each earned First Team America East honors, while Gross was a Third Team South Atlantic selection...sophomore back Bryan Moffa was named to the league’s All Rookie Team...netminder Andy Marchica, a graduate student, has moved into a tie for third place on UMBC’s all-time shutouts list with 13 and is in ninth place on UMBC’s all-time saves list with 124...Marchica, Gross and senior back Matt McGowan are the UMBC captains...freshmen Esteban and Manuel Mariel are the first set of identical twins to compete for UMBC soccer.