Men's Soccer's Quest for Fourth Straight AE Title Ends in OT at Vermont, 2-1

Men's Soccer's Quest for Fourth Straight AE Title Ends in OT at Vermont, 2-1

Burlington, Vt. –  UMBC's quest for a fourth consecutive America East title ended abruptly in Vermont, as the second-seeded Catamounts scored 2:38 into overtime to nip the Retrievers, 2-1, in the league semifinals.


The third-seeded Retrievers finish the campaign at 11-6-3, while Vermont will host No. 6 Binghamton for the league title on Sunday.


After Vermont took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, UMBC senior midfielder Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland) knotted the game on a free kick in the 65'. UMBC drew a foul 22 yards and slightly left of goal and Scott's well-struck effort to the right of the wall took a deflection off a Catamount defender and beat netminder Greg Walton back to the near side.  


The Retrievers would continue to press after the tying goal, but the Catamounts took back the momentum in the late stages of regulation, failing on several good chances in the final seven minutes.


After a benign start to overtime, Vermont used their speed up front to get the game-winner. Forward Bernard Yebouh took a lead pass from linemate Brian Wright, got past the left-center of the Retriever defense and his left-footed effort got by a charging Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.) and into the far right corner of the net.  


UMBC outshot Vermont, 14-12, and forced Walton to make six saves. Heavner, whose shutout string was snapped at four, made five saves for the visitors.


The loss snapped UMBC's unbeaten streak in America East Tournament play at seven. The last loss occurred in the 2011 quarter-finals, a 1-0 setback versus Hartford. The game in Burlington was UMBC's first on the road since the 2009 title game at Stony Brook as the dominant America East squad played ten in a row at Retriever Soccer Park.


UMBC had a pair of quality chances in the first 45 minutes. Sophomore Sammy Kahsai (Mt. Rainier, Md.) corralled a ball 14 yards from goal in the center of the box in the 9th minute, but his shot deflected off a Catamount boot and went over the goal. In the latter stages of the stanza, Kahsai got in deep on the right side and his cross got past UVM netminder Greg Walton, but classmate Cormac Noel (Todmorden, England) could not get his foot on the ball to get off a shot from close range.  


Vermont scored the game's first goal in the 49', as the speedy Wright got past the left side of the Retriever defense, broke in on Heavner, and slotted a shot into the far left corner of the net. It was the first goal that UMBC had allowed in 427 minutes of play.


UMBC had been unbeaten in November soccer in 18 consecutive games (13-0-5), dating back to that semi-final loss to Hartford.