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Houapeu Nets Three as Men's Soccer Clinches America East Tournament Berth With 3-1 Win Over Vermont
Levi Houapeu now has 31 career goals, tied for 5th in UMBC history
BALTIMORE—Senior forward Levi Houapeu (Germantown, Md./Watkins Mill) recorded his third career three-goal game, leading UMBC to a 3-1 victory over visiting Vermont, clinching a playoff berth in the America East Tournament for the Retrievers.
The Retrievers improved to 9-4-2 overall and 3-1-2 in league play, while Vermont slid to 6-7-4 and 1-4-1.
UMBC remains deadlocked with Stony Brook with 11 standings points and the two teams will play for second place and a first-round bye at Stony Brook on Sunday. Boston U. clinched the top spot with a 4-0 win over Binghamton this evening. The Retrievers are guaranteed to host at least one game in the six-team tournament which begins on Saturday, Nov. 6.
Houapeu led UMBC and the America East Conference with nine goals entering play tonight, but had not scored a goal in his last three outings. He opened the scoring in unusual fashion in the 33rd minute, as he managed to corral Retriever netminder Dan Louisignau’s bounding goal kick and broke in on goal. His initial close range shot was stopped by Vermont netminder Xan Rousselle, but Houapeu tapped in the rebound.
Houapeu’s pair of second half goals were more artistic and put the game out of reach early in the stanza. Junior midfielder Andrew Bulls (Millersville, Md./McDonogh) did the heavy work on the first tally, winning the ball on the right sideline at midfield and working diagonally down the field. He fed Houapeu and the two worked a quick give-and-go inside, with Houapeu finishing the play by chipping the ball in from six yards out just 66 seconds into the second half.
In the 52nd minute, Houapeu took a flick from freshman forward Pete Caringi III (Baltimore, Md./Calvert Hall), drove just inside the box and blasted a 16-yard shot from the left side just inside the far post.
Vermont avoided the shutout and broke a long scoreless drought on Evan Hodge’s first goal of the year in the 74th minute.
Houapeu, who now has 12 goals on the season, was UMBC’s America East Player of the Game, while Vermont’s Malick Camara, who assisted on Hodge’s score, earned the honor for the visitors.
Houapeu moved into a tied for fifth place on UMBC’s all-time goals list with 31.
The Retrievers outshot the Catamounts, 13-8, and Louisignau made a pair of saves. Rousselle was credited with four saves for Vermont.
UMBC snapped a five-game winless streak vs. Vermont, winning for the first time since 2004.