Baltimore, Md.- Senior midfielder Kevin Mezzadra (Fallston, Md./Loyola-Blakefield) scored all three goals as UMBC (3-5-1) returned home after six straight games away from UMBC Soccer Stadium and defeated Howard (1-6-1), 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.
Mezzadra opened the scoring in the 23rd minute as he rocketed a shot into the upper right hand corner of the goal. Junior defender Bryan Moffa touched the ball to Mezzadra on an indirect kick 21 yards away from the goal just outside the left edge of the box.
UMBC outplayed the Bison in the first half, holding the visitors to one shot and drawing 16 fouls. But Howard surged early in the second half and got the game-tying goal at the 62:02 mark when Marcel Storer rifled in a 28-yard shot just inside the right post.
However, 56 seconds later UMBC regained the lead when freshman forward Dan Maudsley's hustle paid off. Maudsley won the ball deep in Bison territory and his short cross hit Mezzadra in stride. UMBC's all-conference forward banked his shot in off the far left post from six yards away.
Mezzadra added the insurance goal at 82:06, when he gathered sophomore midfielder Kevin Gnatiko's short pass and blasted a shot by Howard netminder Chris Taylor from a sharp right angle eight yards away from the goal.
The win snapped a three-game winless streak by UMBC in the series, which included 0-0 overtime draws in both 2004 and 2005. UMBC now leads the series, 9-2-2.
Mezzadra, who had not scored in the last five games, now has seven goals on the season and 17 in his career at UMBC.
Howard outshot UMBC, 10-8, as they attempted nine second half shots. Taylor was credited with four saves, while UMBC sophomore keeper Steve King made a pair. Howard committed 26 of the 45 fouls in the contest.
UMBC opens America East Conference play by hosting Boston University on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.