Men's Soccer Hosts Hartford in Critical America East Contest on Wednesday Evening

Phil Saunders posted his fifth shutout of the year at Stony Brook.
Phil Saunders posted his fifth shutout of the year at Stony Brook.

Hartford at UMBC, 10-24-12

With the America East Conference dash to the playoffs as tight as ever, UMBC has two home opportunities to improve its standing in the final week of regular season play. The Retrievers (8-4-4, 2-2-1 America East) welcome rival Hartford (7-7-1, 1-3-1) to Retriever Soccer Park on Wed., Oct. 24. Hartford posted two victories over UMBC in 2012, including a 1-0 victory in the league quarterfinals at RSP. Kick-off time is set for 7:00 p.m. and video streaming is available

LAST TIME OUT: UMBC sophomore midfielder Stephen Ho scored his first career goal in the 73rd minute and the visiting Retrievers knocked off defending America East champions Stony Brook, 1-0, at La Valle Stadium. UMBC won its third in a row and improved to 8-4-4 overall and 2-2-1 in league play.

TOP DOG: In 21+ seasons under Head Coach Pete Caringi, Jr., UMBC is 131-46-26 (.709) at home and the Retrievers are 72-19-21 (.734) in 112 games on the Bermuda turf of Retriever Soccer Park. The Retriever mentor has an overall record of 227-143-48 (.600) during his tenure on Hilltop Circle.

UMBC's three-game winning streak is its longest of the  season. The Retrievers are guaranteed a winning record in 2012. They have never had back-to-back sub-.500 seasons under Pete Caringi, Jr., and have posted winning marks in 17 of his 22 seasons at the helm.

JR F Pete Caringi III now has a career-best nine goals and 22 total points for the season. He is ranked third in America East and 24th in the nation in points per game. His eight-point game is one of three in the nation in 2012-only Penn's Stephen Baker has nine points in a game (vs. Rider, 9/23/12) this season.

REGIONAL RANKINGS: UMBC moved up to ninth in the Northeast regional rankings for games ending Sept. 9, 2012. It is the fourth consecutive year that the Retrievers have made an appearance in the regional rankings. UMBC debuted the previous week in a tie with Dartmouth for the No. 10 position, but the two losses knocked the Retrievers from the rankings for games ending Sept. 16. The Retrievers reclaimed position No. 10 for games ending Sept. 23. After a month-long absence, UMBC has returned to the No. 9 spot as of Oct. 23.

The Retrievers were also ranked No. 58 in the latest RPI. They have wins over No. 49 Stony Brook, No. 44 Loyola and a tie vs. No. 28 VCU.

UMBC was ranked 25th in the nation in home attendance in 2011 with 911 fans per game and are averaging 1,054 through the first eight games of the 2012 campaign… At this point, UMBC is also 25th in the nation for attendance in 2012.

INSIDE THE SERIES: The series between UMBC and Hartford is all-square at 5-5-2. The Hawks swept a pair of games from UMBC in 2011, winning 3-1 in the regular season at home and defeating the Retrievers, 1-0, in the league quarterfinals at Retriever Soccer Park. UMBC is 3-2-1 at home vs. the Hawks.  Anthony Santaga scored the game's lone goal in the 69' in the America East triumph for the Hawks in 2011. 

A GLANCE AT THE HAWKS: Anthony Santaga scored the game's lone goal as Hartford (7-7-1, 1-3-1 AE, 4 pts.) snapped a five-game winless streak with a 1-0 win at Binghamton (6-8, 2-3-0 AE, 6 pts.) Saturday. Santaga's goal, his seventh of the year, came off a corner kick in the ninth minute. The goal was his third game-winning tally. He leads Hartford in points (17, tied with Javoni Simms), which is tied for fourth in the conference, and second in goals (7), which is fifth among league leaders.  He was named America East Conference Player of the Week for his effort.  Goalkeeper Viltsu Tuumi stopped all nine shots he faced to record the shutout. The freshman was tabbed America East Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. Freshman Javoni Simms has also been named AEC Rookie of the Week on two occasions in 2012. He leads Hawks with eight goals on the season.

NEXT UP: UMBC concludes regular season play at home on Saturday evening when they welcome the Binghamton Bearcats at 7:00 p.m. The team's three seniors- M Milo Kapor, BLiam Paddock and M Dave Vaeth will be honored in pre-game ceremonies.