For the fourth time in five years, the UMBC men's soccer program will compete for the America East Conference title. The 2010 and 2012 champions host third-seeded Hartford (13-3-4) on Saturday, Nov. 16 to earn the league's automatic bid to the 2013 NCAA Men's Soccer Championships. The sixth-ranked and top-seeded Retrievers (15-1-2) are unbeaten in eight straight contests, while UH has gone seven in a row without a setback. Kick-off time is set for 7:30 p.m.at Retriever Soccer Park. Live streaming coverage is also provided by the America East Digital Network.
RETRIEVER RECAP: UMBC senior forward Kadeem Dacresscored with 4:48 remaining in the second overtime period and the top-seeded Retrievers nipped Albany, 2-1, in the America East Conference semifinals on Wednesday evening. The Retrievers, ranked No. 6 nationally, advance to their fourth title game in the last five years. Malcolm Harris gave UMBC a 1-0 lead with 31 minutes to play, but Albany tied it with 21 seconds to play, setting up the dramatic overtime period. UMBC won its first America East regular season crown since 2003 after completing an undefeated (5-0-2) conference season. They are attempting to win their third tournament title an NCAA automatic bid in the last four years.
NOTES: UMBC remained at No. 6 in the Continental Tire/NSCAA Coaches' poll as of Nov. 12. The Retrievers remained at No. 6 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll to and moved up one notch to No. 7 in College Soccer News' poll.
UMBC was unbeaten in 18 consecutive contests (15-0-3) prior to falling, 1-0, in double OT versus Delaware on Oct. 1. It was the longest unbeaten streak since 1999, when that championship squad went 19-0-2 in the regular season. The Retrievers have advanced to the second round in the NCAA Championships twice in three seasons. The 2012 season marked UMBC's third NCAA College Cup appearance overall, having earned a bid in 1999.
SR F Pete Caringi III was named Disney/NSCAA Player of the Week and College Soccer News' Player of the Week for games ending Sept. 1 and Sept. 8 respectively.
Entering play this weekend, UMBC leads the nation in winning percentage (.889) and are tied for the most victories (15). The Retrievers are 15th in scoring offense (1.94 gpg) and 18th (0.68) in scoring defense. UMBC went 501 minutes of action without allowing a goal until Albany scored with 21 seconds left in regulation in Wednesday's semifinals.
INSIDE THE SERIES
UMBC has won the last two meetings and now leads the series, 7-5-2. The Retrievers are 4-2 vs. the Hawks in Baltimore. In the last meeting at Retriever Soccer Park, UMBC defeated UH, 7-1, in the 2012 campaign.
THE LAST MEETING
UMBC senior midfielder Kadeem Dacres broke a 1-1 tie with an early second half score and the visiting, seventh-ranked Retrievers held on for a 2-1 victory over Hartford in the America East opener for both squads.
UMBC had to rally, as Hartford opened the scoring on a goal by Javoni Simms in the 16th minute. But Retriever senior forward Pete Caringi III tallied his nation-leading 10th goal of the season in the 30th minute and the game was deadlocked at 1-1 at the break.
SCOUTING THE HAWKS
The third-seeded Hawks enter the title game unbeaten in their last seven (5-0-2) outings. They advanced to the title game by virtue of a 1-0 home overtime decision over No. 6 Binghamton and via the penalty kick route (4-3) after a 1-1 double overtime deadlock at No. 2 UNH. First Team forward Javoni Simms equalized the game vs. the Wildcats 51 seconds after UNH had jumped out in front early in the first half.
Simms leads UH with eight goals on the season, while Jeff Tryon and Damion Lowe have contributed six and five scores respectively. Hartford has outscored its foes, 28-14, on the campaign, and is 4-0 in overtime games in 2013. Freshman netminder David MacKinnon has an excellent 0.67 goals against average and earned America East All-Rookie Team honors. Hartford is ranked fourth in the Northeast region and received votes in the NSCAA poll for the first time this week. Defensively, the Hawks continue their run through the postseason as the 12th-best defensive team in the nation, boasting a goals-against average of 0.65. In addition, with shutouts in more than half of its contests, Hartford is ranked sixth in the country in shutout percentage (0.58).