UMBC Men's Soccer plays in the finale of the Hampton Inn BWI Kick-Off Classic on Sunday evening, as the Retrievers host Central Arkansas at 7:00 p.m. The game will be streamed live and for free on www.umbcretrievers.tv, with Paul Mittermeier on the call.
The Retrievers opened the campaign on Friday evening, rallying from two goals down to earn a 2-2 double overtime draw versus Fairfield. UMBC Athletics made a College Cup trophy presentation and unveiled the Final Four banner before the contest, which drew a record attendance of 2,874 to Retriever Soccer Park.
Central Arkansas dropped a tough 1-0 decision at Delaware to kick off their campaign.
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second half, senior midfielder Joseph Pratt halved the deficit with an unassisted tally in the 68th minute. UMBC outshot Fairfield, 13-2, in the second half and got the equalizer when junior striker Kennedy O'Shea headed in senior Darius Madison's attempt on goal with just 3:06 remaining in regulation.
The UMBC men's soccer program has been ranked No. 12 in the 2015 National Soccer College Association of America Division I preseason rankings. The No. 12 ranking is the top preseason mark for the Retriever program. Last season, Pete Caringi's squad, coming off back-to-back America East titles, was tabbed at No. 19 in the August poll.
The three-time defending league champions will welcome back 16 letterwinners and three starters from last year's 14-6-5 squad. In the 2015 opener, UMBC started three freshmen (Riley Collins, Kyle Saunderson and Tyler Ward) and a transfer (Bill Kerr) along the backline.
A season ago, UMBC became the first team in NCAA tournament history to win four consecutive road games and to post shutouts in four consecutive games to reach the College Cup.
With four America East tournament titles (in 12 years), UMBC trails only Boston University, with seven total America East championships. The Retrievers became the second team in league history to win regular season and tournament titles in back-to-back years. Boston U. achieved that feat in 1993-94.
Head Coach Pete Caringi, Jr., is celebrating his 25th season at the helm of the Retrievers. In 24 campaigns, under Caringi, UMBC is 155-47-31 (.733) at home and the Retrievers are 95-21-25 (.764) in 141 games on the Bermuda turf of Retriever Soccer Park. The Retriever mentor has an overall record of 260-150-60 (.617) during his tenure on Hilltop Circle and in 32 years as a head coach, he is 430-177-68 (.688).
O'Shea, who played in seven games during his first year at UMBC in 2014, scored his first collegiate tally. Madison, a recent UVa transfer to UMBC, posted his first point in his first contest in the black and gold. Pratt's goal was his second as a Retriever, his first was the game-winner at Delaware in 2014.
UMBC is undefeated in season openers since a 3-0 loss to Georgia Southern in 2005… The Retrievers are 9-0-1 in the span… The Retrievers had not allowed two or more goals in a game in the final 16 games of the 2014 season… UMBC is 0-2-6 in its last eight overtime contests… Madison and Pratt led UMBC with four shots apiece vs. Fairfield and Pratt put three of four on goal.
UCA gave up a second half goal at Delaware and fell, 1-0, to the Blue Hens in Newark on Friday. The Bears were outshot, 12-5, but took six corners in the contest. Freshman midfielder Daltyn Knutson let UCA with three shots in the game and sophomore goalkeeper Harrison Veith made four saves.
The Bears are celebrating their 20th season of varsity soccer in 2015. They also enter year No. 6 as associate members of the Missouri Valley Conference.
The Bears posted a record of 3-13-1, including a mark of 0-5-1 in MVC competition in 2014. Seven starters and 12 letterwinners return for Head Coach Ross Duncan, who enters his fourth season at the helm.
Sophomore midfielder Pepe San Roman is the leading returning scorer for UCA, as he posted a pair of goals and five total points in 2014. Veith started in 15 of 16 games last season and recorded all three of UCA's victories.
UMBC will host a pair of NCAA Tournament teams in next weekend's Sheraton/Westin BWi Classic. The Retrievers face Ohio State on Friday and Oakland (Mich.) on Sunday with both contests starting at 7:00 p.m.