It sounds totally foreign to say in 2016, but the men's soccer program wandered in the desert not too long ago.
Therefore, when the 2010 Retrievers reached the "promised land" on Nov. 13, 2010, that exhilarating scene on campus landed at No. 19 in the #retriever50for50 countdown.
The 2003 Retrievers won the league's regular season title in their first try, but lost a tough 1-0 decision in a first round tournament game. UMBC would not win a playoff game until 2009, when they upset hosts Binghamton and UNH to advance to the AE Championship game at Stony Brook. But the Seawolves prevailed, 2-0, and denied the Retrievers a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
The 2010 Retrievers did not get off to the best start, winning six of their first 12 games (6-4-2). But a brilliant overtime goal by Milo Kapor boosted UMBC past host Penn State, 2-1, initiating a five-game winning streak. The last game of that streak occurred on Nov. 10, when the Retrievers survived a few jitters and defeated Stony Brook, 3-2, in the conference semi-finals on the lighted turf at UMBC Stadium.
Three days later, the defensive-minded UNH Wildcats came down to Baltimore as both teams were in search of their first America East tournament crown. The game pitted the league's top offense of UMBC against the best defense in UNH. The Wildcats bottled UMBC up for most of the contest. The Retrievers outshot UNH, 11-9, in 90 regulation and 20 overtime minutes, but neither goalkeeper faced stern tests on net.
Dreaded penalty kicks ensued, and after both teams converted their opening kicks, UMBC junior goalkeeper Dan Louisignau made a diving save to his right on an attempt by UNH's Joe Corsello. The next three shooters for each squad converted, leaving it up to UMBC senior midfielder John Paul Waraksa with the shootout knotted at 4-4. The Retriever captain placed his shot inside the left post, setting off a wild celebration from the Retriever players and partisan crowd at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
Senior forward Levi Houapeu was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. Warkasa, senior captain Chris Williams and junior midfielder Andrew Bulls were also selected to the All- Championship team.
But UMBC was not satisfied to just make the tournament. They defeated tenth-ranked Princeton, 2-1, in New Jersey, and nearly made it to the Round of 16, falling in penalty kicks at No. 9 William & Mary.
Of course, three more America East titles have ensued, but the first will always be very special for Coach Caringi, Adams, DeBone and Eibner, the administrative and support staff and all the players of the 2010 Retriever squad.