The UMBC men's soccer team opens its 12th America East Conference season on Saturday, Oct. 4 when they welcome the U Mass Lowell River Hawks to Retriever Soccer Park. The opening kick-off is set for 7:00 p.m. and live streaming is available on www.umbcretrievers.tv, a part of the America East digital network. Live stats are also available via the link on www.umbcretrievers.com and you can also follow all the action via UMBC Front Row, the Retrievers' mobile app.
FROM THE PROMOTIONS DEPARTMENT: The 1999 UMBC men's soccer team, which celebrates the 15th anniversary of the school's first NCAA Division I appearance, will be honored at halftime of today's contest. Like the 2014 squad, the 99'ers led the nation in winning percentage as they went 19-1-2 on the campaign. In addition, Pinktober weekend continues – fans may purchase pink t-shirts from the UMBC women's soccer team to support breast cancer awareness, with all the proceeds going to the Susan G. Komen Fund.
A GLANCE AT THE RETRIEVERS: Kay Banjo broke a 1-1 tie with a brilliant strike in the 75', leading the Retrievers to a 2-1 win over visiting UMass Lowell in the America East opener for both teams on Saturday night at Retriever Soccer Park. UMBC has now won two straight to improve to 5-4-2 overall. The Retrievers knocked off No. 23 Delaware, 1-0, on Tuesday in Newark.
The victory at Delaware was the 250th at UMBC for Head Coach Pete Caringi in his 24th season at the helm. Entering the season, UMBC mentor Pete Caringi was 31st in total victories amongst all active NCAA Division I coaches.
UMBC is now unbeaten in its last 13 America East regular season contests (11-0-2) and is unbeaten versus its last 17 league foes (include playoffs).
Banjo (5 goals, 4 assists) leads the America East Conference in assists per game (0.40) and points per game (1.40). He is 30th in the nation in points per game. Seniors Mamadou Kansaye and Geaton Caltabiano have three goals apiece. Red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Billy Heavner earned his first collegiate start at Delaware and posted a shutout. Heavner stopped a penalty kick by UML's Carlos Ruiz on Oct. 4, but the River Hawk midfielder pounced on the rebound to score the game-tying goal. Heaver made a season-high six saves and improved to 2-0-0 in the 2-1 victory.
A GLANCE AT THE HAWKS: On Wednesday, Hartford hosted the University of Massachusetts and came away with a 2-1 overtime victory. Sophomore Romario Jones struck twice for the Hawks, helping them overcome a 1-0 deficit and score a the triumph at Al-Marzook Field at Alumni Stadium, as UH improved to 4-0-0 on their home field
Less than five minutes into extra time, Jones provided the heroics and lifted Hartford to its sixth-straight win over UMass after kicking home a deflection off of a shot from Jeff Tryon, which was initially saved by the Minutemen's keeper. Jones now leads the Hawks with three goals this season as his squad improves to 1-0-2 in overtime this season.
Another hero of Wednesday's match was redshirt freshman Scott McKirgan. Making his first career start between the pipes, he faced a plethora of UMass shots in the opening half and came up with six saves, including a diving stop on a penalty kick from Josh Schwartz. McKirgan finished with eight stops.
Junior forward Javoni Simms has a pair of goals for Hartford on the season, while senior forward Omar Tall added his team-leading third assist on Jones' first goal versus UMass.
Last weekend, the Hawks opened up America East play with a 1-0 heartbreaking loss at Binghamton. Sophomore goalkeeper David MacKinnon had three saves on the day but could not stop the Bearcats from scoring the game's lone goal.
Hartford is 0-4-2 on the road in 2014, but is 4-0 at home. On the year, the Hawks have impressive victories against Northeastern, Villanova, College of Charleston, Central Connecticut and UMass.
INSIDE THE SERIES: UMBC has won the last three meetings and now leads the series, 8-5-2. The Retrievers are 5-2-0 versus the Hawks in Baltimore.
The Retrievers won a pair of contests last season, opening AE play with a 2-1, come-from-behind victory over the Hawks on Oct. 5 in West Hartford.
Then, the two teams squared off the AE title game at Retriever Soccer Park on Nov. 16 and UMBC blanked UH, 4-0. Pete Caringi III scored twice and current Retrievers Oumar Ballo and Mamadou Kansaye added goals.
UP NEXT: UMBC plays its the final game of the three-game America East homestand when they welcome Binghamton to Retriever Soccer Park on Wednesday, Oct. 15. Four of the final five games of the regular season will be played on the road. Kick-off time for the game versus the Bearcats is 7:00 p.m.