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MEN'S SOCCER OPENS NEC SCHEDULE WITH DEFENDING CHAMPION FDU KNIGHTS ON FRIDAY
The UMBC men's soccer team will open the Northeast Conference portion of the schedule this Friday, September 27, when they entertain two-time defending league champions Fairleigh Dickinson. The action gets underway as the second half of a soccer doubleheader (women vs. Robert Morris, 1pm) at 3:30 p.m. at UMBC Soccer Stadium. The Retrievers will also face Sacred Heart to wrap up the weekend on Sunday at 1pm. FDU stunned the collegiate soccer world with its run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Championships last fall. That run started as they nipped UMBC, 1-0, in the NEC semi-finals. In fact, while UMBC has been brilliant in NEC play in four league seasons (27-8-4), they have yet to defeat FDU (0-5-1) in league competition. In the last two meetings at UMBC, the Knights have rallied to defeat UMBC in overtime, 2-1 in 1998 and 3-2 in 2000. It was FDU that dismissed UMBC from the NEC Tournament in each of the last two seasons, 2-0 in 2000 and 1-0 last year. The Knights were ranked 14th in the nation to start the season, but they have fallen from the rankings with a 3-2-2 mark so far. The Retrievers are 3-4-1, having played five overtime games in eight outings to date. They are 1-3-1 in overtime, already setting a school Division record for overtime setbacks in a season. UMBC is 3-0-1 in NEC openers. The Retrievers are also trying to exact some revenge vs. Sacred Heart, as the Pioneers upset UMBC, 3-1, in Fairfield, CT last season, for their only NEC win of the 2001 campaign.