The UMBC men's soccer program visits a familiar place this weekend as the Retrievers participate in the UNLV Nike Invitational in Las Vegas, Nev. on Friday and Sunday, Sept. 12 and 14. The Retrievers take on the host Rebels (4-0-0) at Johann Stadium on Friday evening (10:00 EDT) and then face Cal State-Fullerton (0-2-2) on Sunday (7:00 EDT), before boarding a Sunday red-eye back to Baltimore.
The Retrievers won the season-opening Doubletree BWI Classic with victories over LIU- Brooklyn (4-0) and Sacred Heart (2-1). They ran their unbeaten streak (dating back to 2013) to 14 (10-0-4) with a 0-0 2OT draw versus No. 7 Maryland and a 3-1 triumph over Appalachian State.
UMBC remained at No. 11 in the Top Drawer Soccer poll. They jumped three notches in College Soccer News to No. 11 and one place in Soccer America (No. 19). The NSCAA poll had the Retrievers at No. 14 for the second consecutive week and No. 1 in the East region. UMBC has been ranked No. 1 in its region in the last ten ratings periods.
Three Retrievers have scored two goals apiece – seniors Kay Banjo, Geaton Caltabiano and Mamadou Kansaye. Banjo, a senior transfer, leads the club with two goals and three helpers and was the America East Conference Player of the Week on Sept. 2. Caltabiano debuted in 2014 with a pair of goals versus LIU and Kansaye just earend Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week honors with a 2-goal, 1-assist effort against Appalachian State.
Head Coach Pete Caringi, in his 24th season behind the Retriever bench, needs one more victory to reach 250 (249-144-55 , 617) in his tenure at UMBC.
INSIDE THE SERIES
UMBC holds a 4-0-0 record against the Rebels, including a 3-1 triumph in the first match played in Baltimore last season. The first three Retriever victories were all by one goal – a 3-2 overtime win in 1994, a 1-0 triumph in 1999 and a 2-1 decision in 2006.
The Retrievers scored just 23 seconds into the second half and added a goal in the 67' to snap a 1-1 halftime deadlock to defeat UNLV, 3-1, in very hot conditions at Retriever Soccer Park on Sept. 1, 2013. Geaton Caltabiano scored the game's first goal and former standout Pete Caringi III tallied both second half tallies to give the hosts the victory.
SCOUTING THE REBELS
UNLV is off to its best start since 1985 at 4-0, The Rebels have defeated Western Illinois (2-1, ot) , Bradley (4-3), IPFW (4-0) and Howard (4-0). The four-game win streak is the longest since 1998, while the last time UNLV won five in a row was when the 1987 squad had a 10-game streak. The last win for UNLV over a ranked squad was on Sept. 2, 2008, when UNLV opened the season with a 2-1 win at No. 23 Cal Poly.
UNLV brings in a high powered offense, led by senior forward Salvador Bernal, who leads the conference and is second in the nation with 11 points and five goals. He is one of eight Rebels that have scored at least once this year. In goal for the Rebels is Ryan Harding, the preseason WAC Defensive Player of the Year.