America East Coaches Tab UMBC as Unanimous Favorite in 2013 Preseason Poll

Phil Saunders recorded his 19th shutout vs. UA.
Phil Saunders recorded his 19th shutout vs. UA.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Winner of two of the last three America East men's soccer titles, including the 2012 crown, UMBC has been picked as the unanimous favorite in the 2013 preseason coaches' poll, the conference office announced on Wednesday afternoon. The voting was conducted by the conference's eight head coaches, who were not permitted to vote for their own teams.


The Retrievers, who received the maximum 49 points, edged out the league's 2011 champion, Stony Brook, which earned 40 points and one first-place tally. University of Vermont, last year's regular-season champion, came in third with 36 points, followed by University of Hartford in fourth with 26 points and University of New Hampshire in fifth with 25 points. University at Albany edged out Binghamton University for sixth by only one point, receiving 21 and 20 points respectively. New conference member UMass Lowell (7 points) rounded out the eight-team poll.


"It's a complement from the other coaches in the conference, who I have great respect for, think that we could be that good," head coach Pete Caringi, Jr. said. "We've been picked everywhere from first to last since I've been here, obviously, we have to do it on the field."


The 2013 regular season kicks off on Friday, Aug. 30 with all eight America East squads in action. Conference play begins on Friday, Oct. 4 while the six-team America East Championship begins with quarterfinal action on Nov. 9 and continues with the semifinal round on Nov. 13. The conference champion will be crowned on either Nov. 16 or 17 with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Men's Soccer Championship, where America East teams have advanced to the second round in nine of the last 12 seasons.


UMBC (11-4-7 overall, 4-2-1 America East) returns 22 letterwinners and eight starters from a squad that captured its second America East title in three seasons and reached the second round of the NCAA College Cup for the second time in that span as well a year ago. Ranked 29th in College Soccer News' preseason poll, the Retrievers will be powered by America East Striker of the Year Pete Caringi III (Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall), a preseason All-American who ranked among the nation's best with 14 goals and 32 points last season.


Senior goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall), the MOP of last year's America East Championship, will lead a UMBC defense that allowed a league-best 0.77 goals per game last year. and shut out 10 opponents. UMBC opens its season at home against Seattle on Aug. 30.


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