Men's Soccer Hosts Talented VCU Squad on Thursday Evening in Holiday Inn Express BWI Classic Opener

UMBC vs. VCU, 8-30-12

The UMBC men's soccer squad (0-0-1) takes on a talented Virginia Commonwealth (1-0-1) side in the first round of the Holiday Inn Express BWI Classic on Thurs., Aug. 30. Kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. at Retriever Soccer Park. Free hot dogs will be given away to the first 250 fans at Thursday's contest. The game is available live on with Paul Mittermeier on the call.

The Retrievers opened the 2012 campaign with a 0-0 double-overtime draw vs. Radford before 1,052 fans on Aug. 25. The Rams have earned a 1-1 draw with Bucknell and a 2-0 victory over William & Mary entering Thursday's contest.

TOP DOG: In 21+ seasons under Head Coach Pete Caringi, UMBC is 127-45-24 (.710) at home and the Retrievers are 69-18-19 (.743) in 106 games on the Bermuda turf of Retriever Soccer Park. The Retriever mentor has an overall record of 219-139-45 (.600) during his tenure on Hilltop Circle.

SR M Milo Kapor (Toronto, Ont./Emily Carr) and SR B Liam Paddock (Worcestershire, England/Chase Technology College) have been named team captains of the 2012 Retriever men's soccer squad. Both players are four-year letterwinners. Kapor has started 34 games in three previous years and is tied for the active team leader with 10 career assists. Paddock has started all 55 games he has dressed for as a fullback during his tenure and the America East First-Team defender was also the league's Scholar-Athlete for the sport of men's soccer in 2011.

JR F Pete Caringi III is the only returning player to score more than one goal in 2011. A two-time America East All-Conference selection, Caringi has 10 goals and 10 assists in his first two seasons under the tutelage of his father.

Redshirt JR GK Phil Saunders flourished as a freshman in 2009, starting all 20 games and posting six shutouts as UMBC raced off to a 9-0 start and national ranking. Saunders tied a career high with seven saves, as the host Retrievers battled Radford to a scoreless draw in double overtime in the opener for both teams at Retriever Soccer Park on Aug. 25.  

Saunders, who had not seen action for UMBC since Sept. 26, 2010, made three saves in each half and one in the first overtime period to record his eighth career shutout. His other seven-save effort ironically occurred in the aforementioned contest at FDU.

UMBC celebrates its tenth season in America East in 2012. The Retrievers have earned three consecutive berths in the league championships for the first time in their league tenure.

UMBC's first win of the season will be the 400th in school history (45 previous seasons).

College Spots Madness tabbed Caringi, SR M Milo Kapor and SR B Liam Paddock to its preseason America East All-Conference First Team. SR M Dave Vaeth earned Second Team honors.

NOTES: UMBC was ranked 25th in the nation in home attendance in 2011 with 911 fans per game and drew 1,052 to the opener vs. Radford… Sixteen of UMBC's 18 goals last season occurred in the second half…UMBC is 25-3-11 (.782) in September home games since the 2003 season… Five Retrievers made their first career starts vs. Radford (Ballo, Burgos, Dacres, Pato, Scott) and a sixth- sophomore Michael DiCesare made his first appearance as a right fullback.

A GLANCE AT THE RAMS: The Rams were selected to finish third out of 16 teams in the Atlantic 10's annual preseason coaches' poll.

VCU (11-9, 2011) welcomes back a pair of 2011 All-CAAn performers in sophomore Juan Monge Solano and junior Jason Johnson. Johnson led the Rams with 11 goals, 23 points and three game-winning scores, while Monge Solano added five goals and 11 points on his way to freshman All-American and first team All-CAA accolades.

The Rams opened the 2012 campaign by hosting the VCU/Nike Classic and won the tournament title with a 1-0-1 mark. VCU drew with Bucknell, 1-1, and blanked William & Mary, 2-0.

Johnson scored the game-tying goal in the 82nd minute vs. Bucknell. Freshman Devon Fisher scored in the first half (5') and Jose Manel Bel provided the insurance goal in the 87' to give the hosts their first victory of 2012.

INSIDE THE SERIES: VCU leads the series, 3-0, vs. UMBC. The series started in 1986 with a 3-1 VCU victory in Baltimore. The Rams won the lone match-up in Richmond, 2-1, in 2005, and captured the latest meeting by the same score at Retriever Soccer Park in 2007.

UP NEXT: The Retrievers co-host the 2012 Holiday Inn Express BWI Classic with Navy on Thurs., Aug. 30 and Sat., Sept. 1. UMBC takes on Robert Morris at Retriever Soccer Park on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.