UMBC Women's Soccer Opens Season with Two Home Games This Weekend

Baltimore-The UMBC women's soccer team opens its season with two home games this weekend, hosting George Washington on Friday, Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. and Rider on Sunday, Aug. 27 at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at UMBC Stadium.

2005 In Review: After falling short of an America East Championships berth in 2004, the Retrievers returned to the tournament last season. With a 9-8-1 overall record and a 3-4-1 conference mark, sixth-seeded UMBC took on No. 3 Binghamton in the quarterfinals. The two teams tied, 1-1, in a rain-shortened regular-season match-up, but in their second meeting the Bearcats prevailed in overtime, 2-1. Forward Jessica Young earned America East all-conference first team honors, while goalie Catie Bukowski was named to the all-conference second team and all-rookie team and forward Amanda DiCarlo earned honorable mention.

2006 Outlook: The Retrievers return three of their top four scorers from last season in Young (12g, 25pts), junior Amy Morrison (2g, 9pts) and sophomore Kali Schwartz (3g, 6pts). DiCarlo (10g, 10pts) will miss the season with an injury. Senior goalie Robin Babaris is back after missing last season with a torn ACL and will compete with Bukowski and sophomore Christine Bacinski to regain her starting job. UMBC has a new head coach in Tara Koleski and adds 10 newcomers to go along with its 10 seniors, while only losing three players. Fifth-year seniors Babaris, Mary Hearin and Betsy Day will captain the team for the second straight season.

On the Colonials: George Washington produced a 5-12-0 record last season and was picked to finish in a tie for 11th place in the Atlantic-10 preseason coaches' poll after placing 13th in the conference in 2005. The Colonials return 12 players and five starters from last year's squad, including all-conference second team members Kerry Philbin and Shari Taylor. Taylor, a senior, tied for the team lead with four goals despite primarily playing on defense, while the sophomore Philbin, also an all-rookie team member, led the team with nine points and tied with Taylor for the team lead in goals.

Last Time vs. the Colonials: Last year, the Retrievers defeated George Washington, 1-0, in Washington, D.C., for their first victory of the season in their second game. Forward Amanda DiCarlo broke a scoreless tie in the 70th minute, converting a pass from midfielder Amy Morrison. The Colonials out-shot the Retrievers, 14-4, and held a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks, but UMBC goalie Christine Bacinski tallied six saves and earned her first collegiate shutout.

UMBC vs. George Washington All-Time: Last season's 1-0 victory was UMBC's first ever in nine tries against George Washington. The Colonials had won the first eight games between the two teams, but 2005 marked the first time in 10 years the squads had met.

On the Broncs: Rider will host Towson Friday afternoon before heading to Baltimore to take on the Retrievers. The Broncs were picked to finish ninth in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason coaches poll after placing eighth in the league last year with a 3-15-2 overall mark. Rider returns 12 players and eight starters from the 2005 squad, including the top four scorers. Stephanie Madden, a junior, led the Broncs with four goals and 10 points in 2005, while Amanda Scully and Kelli Burke each scored nine points.

Last Time vs. the Broncs: Last year, UMBC defeated Rider, 2-1, in Lawrenceville, N.J. Midfielder Kali Schwartz put the Retrievers on the board first just over a minute into the second half, and forward Jessica Young padded the lead about 12 minutes later before the Broncs' Kayla Devlin cut UMBC's lead in half. Each team had 11 shots, but Rider had a 5-3 advantage on corner kicks. UMBC goalie Catie Bukowski tallied four saves in the game.

UMBC vs. Rider All-Time: UMBC leads the all-time series, 2-1. The teams have met in each of the last three seasons, and each time the road team was victorious.

Preseason Poll: The Retrievers were picked to finish seventh in the America East preseason coaches poll. Boston University was chosen to repeat as conference champion, followed by Maine, Binghamton, New Hampshire, Vermont and Hartford. UMBC was picked ahead of Stony Brook and Albany in the nine-team poll. The top six teams advance to the America East Championship, with the winner of the tournament receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA College Cup.

Moving Up the Ranks: Junior Jessica Young has joined the Retrievers' top 10 in goals scored, while junior Amy Morrison is among UMBC's best in assists. Young is tied for eighth all-time with 18 goals, and she is just one point from the top 10 in scoring with 41 points. Morrison ranks 10th all-time with eight helpers.

Most Goals/Career Most Assists/Career

5. Kasy Kruger 23 5. Kristen Einarson 13

6. Shannon Bagrosky 20 Ruth Higgins 13

Kathy Zonis 20 7. Christa Gredlein 11

8. Ruth Higgins 18 8. Shannon Bagrosky 10

Christa Gredlein 18 9. Missy Moore 9

Nicole Grinspoon 18 10. Amy Morrison 8

Jessica Young 18