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Men's Soccer Opens America East Conference Play at Vermont on Saturday
The second season begins Saturday in Burlington, Vermont. After opening the 2009 campaign with a school record 9-0-0 record, the 18th-ranked UMBC men's soccer team opens America East Conference play with a 1:00 kick-off at Vermont (0-6-3). The Retrievers have not defeated the Catamounts since the 2004 campaign.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for the Vermont program," head coach Pete Caringi said. "America East Conference games are always very tough and we expect a great match on Saturday."
UMBC sophomore forward Andrew Bulls (Millersville, Md./McDonogh) scored a pair of first half goals, leading the visiting Retrievers (9-0-0) to a 3-0 victory over La Salle (3-4-1) in the team's first road contest of the season.Bulls, the nation's leading scorer entering play this week, netted his 11th and 12th goals of the season in the 22nd and 29th minutes and freshman Matt Knight (Kent, England) added an insurance goal in the 89th minute to extend UMBC's school-record winning streak to start a campaign. UMBC freshman goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall) made five saves to record his fourth consecutive shutout and his fifth of the season. UMBC snapped an 11-game road winless streak, which dated back to the 2007 season.
Bulls scored on a free kick in the 44th minute and Saunders made three outstanding saves in the final two minutes as UMBC edged Loyola (3-3-2), 1-0, before 1,505 fans at UMBC Stadium on Tuesday. Saunders finished with six saves. It was UMBCfs first-ever win over Loyola on home turf. The Greyhounds lead the series, 18-2-2, with the Retrievers' lone previous win occurring at Towson in 2003.
The Retrievers' 9-0-0 start is the best in the school history and the longest winning streak since 1999, when the NCAA-bound team won 13 straight contests. The 1977 team (15-2-0) started its NCAA Division II tournament-bound season at 7-0-0, while the 1999 Retriever Division I squad opened with six straight wins en route to the nation's best record that campaign at 19-1-2.
Saunders has posted four straight shutouts in wins over CAA foes Towson (1-0) and Drexel, Loyola and La Salle. The four consecutive shutouts are UMBC's first-such streak since a similar string in 2007. The Retrievers have not allowed a goal in the last 435 minutes of play.
The Retrievers are the lone 9-0-0 team in the nation and are ranked 20th by College Soccer News. UMBC is ranked third in the Northeast region and is ranked 18th overall by the NSCAA. The Retrievers also debuted at No. 25 in Soccer America and at No. 21 in Soccer Times this week.
UMBC junior forward Levi Houapeu recorded the Retrievers' first three-goal game in three years, leading the Retrievers to a 3-0 win over Drexel on Sept. 19. The team's seven wins to start a season broke the school Division I record of the 1999 team, which played Fairleigh Dickinson to a 1-1 draw in the seventh game of the season were 6-0-1 after seven games.
Houapeu recorded UMBC's first three-goal game since Kevin Mezzadra scored three times in a home win over Howard on Sept. 20, 2006. The win was UMBC's first-ever over Drexel, which leads the all-time series, 4-1-1. Sophomore forward Andrew Bulls did not score a goal for the first time this season, but his assist on Houapeu's final goal kept his scoring streak alive, a streak he has now extended to nine. Bulls scored goals in UMBC's first six games and his eight goals in six games was the fastest to get to that plateau in UMBC's Division I history. Ty Engram scored 11 goals through the first eight games of the 1999 campaign.
UMBC has outscored its opponents, 27-4, through nine games this season.
The Retrievers last recorded four consecutive shutouts in the 2005 season.
UMBC is 0-7-2 in its last nine America East road games, with its last win occurring at Maine in 2006.
The series between the Retrievers and Catamounts is tied at 2-2-2. UMBC won the first two meetings, but is winless since the 2004 season vs. Vermont. UVM won last year's meeting in Baltimore, 1-0, as Jordan Crasilneck scored in the 50th minute. UMBC has not scored vs. Vermont since a 1-1 double overtime draw in 2006.
Vermont is 0-6-3 after Wednesday's 3-1 loss at Dartmouth. The setback to the Big Green was the Catamounts' first two-goal setback of the season; all other losses were by a single score. Vermont finished third in the America East Conference last season with a record of 4-1-3. Freshman forward D.J. Edler has scored half of the Catamounts' six goals on the season.
Saunders, who leads America East play in goals against average (0.34) and save percentage (91.9), was tabbed the league's Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive week on Sept. 28.
National Leaders: (as of Sept. 27, 2009)
Scoring Offense: 2. UMBC 3.00 goals per game 1. Liberty 3.17
Scoring Defense: 11. UMBC (0.44 goals per game)
Points per game: 1. Andrew Bulls, 3.22 ppg; 3. Levi Houapeu, 2.45 ppg
Goals per game: 1. Andrew Bulls, 1.33 gpg (12)
9. Levi Houapeu, 0.89 gpg (8)
Assists per game: 4. Levi Houapeu 0.78 apg (7)
Save Pct. 5. Phil Saunders (.919)
Goals Against Avg. 8. Phil Saunders (0.34)
2009 Honors Won
NSCAA Player of the Week, Sept. 1-7
College Soccer News Player of the Week
College Soccer News Team of the Week
America East Conference Player of the Week
adidas Kick-Off Classic Most Valuable Player, Sept. 8, 10
America East Conference Player of the Week, Sept. 8-13
Soccer America's Team of the Week
adidas Kick-Off Classic All-Tournament Team Sept. 8, 10
College Soccer News Team of the Week Sept. 14-20
Soccer Americas Team of the Week
America East Conference Player of the Week
America East Conference Rookie of the Week Sept. 14-20
America East Conference Rookie of the Week Sept. 21-27
Vince Savarese adidas Kick-Off Classic All-Tournament Team Sept. 8, 10
Chris Williams adidas Kick-Off Classic All-Tournament Team Sept. 8, 10