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Men's Soccer Faces Key Home Contest vs. Conference Favorite Vermont
Recap: Host Albany scored twice in the first eight minutes of play and went on to post a 3-1 victory over UMBC in America East Conference action on Wednesday. The loss snapped UMBC’s three-game unbeaten streak.
UMBC would get on the board midway through the half (61:58) as sophomore midfielder Kevin Gnatiko scored on a penalty kick opportunity. The Retrievers, playing without starting defenders Bryan Moffa (red card in previous game) and L.J. Pijnenburg, did manage to put four shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, but three of four were turned away by Albany netminder Steward Ceus. Retriever goalkeeper Steve King also had four saves in the UMBC net.
The Top Dog: UMBC Head Men's Soccer Coach Pete Caringi coached his 500th collegiate game vs. Drexel on September 8 in the first game of the Drexel Invitational. Caringi is 340-129-37 (.709) in his 26th season as a collegiate head coach and 169-101-28 (.613) at the beginning of his 16th season at UMBC. Coach Caringi's first ten seasons were spent at CCBC-Essex (Md.). The Baltimore native is a two-time national coach of the year (1984, 1989), a three-time NCAA Division I conference coach of the year (1999, 2002, 2005) and has won championships as a player (1975 NCAA Division II title at the University of Baltimore) and as a coach (1990 APSL champion Maryland Bays). Caringi's 1999 UMBC team posted the best record in the nation (19-1-2) and earned the school's first trip to the NCAA Division-I Men's Soccer Tournament. He is a member of the National Junior College Hall of Fame, the Maryland Soccer Hall of Fame and the University of Baltimore Athletic Hall of Fame.
Program Success: UMBC has posted winning records in eight straight years and only have one losing record in 16 years under Coach Caringi.
That's Odd: Under Coach Caringi, in odd-numbered years, UMBC has a record of 92-46-17 (.648), while in even-numbered years, the Retrievers are 75-50-10 (.593).
Yutes: 19 players on UMBC's 23-man roster have one year or less experience at the Division I level.
Getting Offensive: Junior defender Bryan Moffa has held the young Retrievers together through a tough first month of the season. He shifted from wing fullback to central defense in the wake of an injury to sweeper L.J. Pijnenburg. With UMBC in the throes of a six-game winless streak, he scored his first career goal in the 63rd minute on a free kick vs. UNLV Then his long free kick with flicked in by David Feazell for the game-winner with less than eight minutes to play to give UMBC the 2-1 win. Moffa leads the team and the America East Conference with four assists.
Other League Leaders: Entering the week, senior Kevin Mezzadra leads the America East with 1.50 points per game and tied for first with 0.70 goals per game. Senior midfielder David Feazell is the lone player in the league to own a pair of game-winning goals. Mezzadra is second in the conference in shots per game (2.70), while Steve King ranks seventh witha 1.44 goals against average. Mezzadra scored all three goals as UMBC returned home after six straight games away from UMBC Soccer Stadium and defeated Howard, 3-1 in the Retrievers’ final non-conference game of the season.
It was Mezzadra’s first career “hat-trick” and the first for any Retriever since Derek McElligott scored three in the 2004 opener, a 10-0 rout of NJIT. It was the first time that a Retrievers scored all three of his team’s goals in a game since Giuliano Celenza scored a trio in a 3-0 win over Central Connecticut in October of 1999. Mezzadra, who had not scored in the previous five games, now has seven goals on the season and 17 in his career at UMBC.
Is Steve King No Longer a Mystery?: Sophomore netminder Steve King has now played 2,164 consecutive minutes for the Retrievers. He posted shutouts in eight of his first ten starts, but has not earned a shutout in his last 13 appearances, allowing 25 goals.
Other Notes: Dating back to last season, UMBC has allowed goals in 13 straight games, the most-ever in the program’s 21-year Division I history … they had not gone more than six games without a shutout since the 1997 season, when they allowed goals in 12 consecutive games.
In America East Play: The Retrievers are now 15-9-4 in three seasons of America East Conference play, including a mark of 10-1-4 at home and 5-8-1 on the road. UMBC had a 12-game home unbeaten streak in conference play until falling, 3-2 in overtime to Stony Brook in the ‘05 regular season finale.
A Glance at the Great Danes: Vermont is the pre-season favorite to capture the America East title. They enter today’s game with back-to-back home league wins vs. UNH (2-1) and Stony Brook (1-0). They own a 1-0 win over U. Mass, a team which nipped the Retrievers, 1-0. Junior forward Tyler Hasman leads the Catamounts in scoring with four goals and three assists to date. Reserve freshman forward Marty Galvin got the GWG vs. Stony Brook as the Catamounts outshot the defending league champions, 18-6 in the contest.
Series Record: After two UMBC wins to open the series, the Catamounts earned a 4-0 win in Burlington last season. All three games have been shutout victories as UMBC triumphed, 2-0, in Burlington in 2003 and 3-0 at UMBC Soccer Stadium in 2004.