Strong First Half Lifts Retrievers to 4-1 Win Over Delaware State in Season Opener

Sandra Vacarino tallied three points in the season opener.
Sandra Vacarino tallied three points in the season opener.

BALTIMORE—The UMBC women's soccer team (1-0) scored four goals in the first half, including two in the first 10 minutes, and defeated Delaware State (0-1) by a score of 4-1 Friday evening at UMBC Soccer Stadium in the season opener for both teams.

In the sixth minute, junior back Kelsi Morris (Bowie, Md./Bowie/Pittsburgh) sent the ball in from 40 yards out, and senior midfielder Sandra Vacarino (Mantua, N.J./Clearview Regional) played it down and shot it into the lower-left corner of the net to give the Retrievers an early 1-0 lead.

Then at the 9:30 mark, Vacarino headed sophomore back Katie Gitlin's (Owings, Md./Northern) throw-in to junior midfielder LeAnne Edgar (Mechanicsville, Md./Chopticon), who placed the ball into the upper-left corner for her first career goal and a 2-0 UMBC advantage.

The score remained the same for 25 minutes, before freshman forward Amy Savage (Ottawa, Ontario/Sir Wilfrid Laurier) was awarded a free kick, which she sent just outside the goal box. Senior back Christine Sadowski (Baltimore, Md./Kenwood) picked up the loose ball and fired it in to put UMBC on top 3-0 at the 34:58.

Just 58 seconds later, freshman midfielder Nicole Clark (Ellicott City, Md./Howard) sent a corner kick from the left side, which freshman midfielder Jessy Brown (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage) headed to freshman midfielder Shannon McGuinness (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow), who sent in from just in front of the goal for her first career score and a 4-0 lead, which the Retrievers took into halftime.

"We started the game well and dictated play," head coach Alyssa Radu said. "When we moved the ball we were able to create opportunities and finished some solid goals."

The four goals were the most the Retrievers have scored in a half since Sept. 22, 2002, when they tallied seven times in the opening period, also against Delaware State.

While UMBC outshot Delaware State, 11-2, in the first half, the second stanza was much more even, as the Retrievers held a 3-2 shot advantage.

The Hornets scored their lone goal early in the 58th minute, as Randall Simon converted a corner kick from Theresa Wappett.

UMBC junior goalie Mo Van Vlerah (Germantown, Md./Northwest) made three saves, while Delaware State keeper Courteney Haas also stopped three shots.

Vacarino, the America East Player of the Game, finished with three points on the day with a goal and an assist. She is UMBC's active career scoring leader with seven goals and 18 points.

"It was great to get out and start the season," Radu said. "We were excited and ready. The girls worked very hard to prepare, and I thought they played well and deserved to win. It's early in the season, and we know our season is not one game long. We know we have better soccer in us."

The win was the first for the Retrievers in a season opener since 1998, when they defeated Howard, 3-0.

The Retrievers return to action on Sunday when they play the first of four straight road games at Drexel at 1 p.m.

NOTES: The four goals were the most the Retrievers have scored in a game since a 6-5 loss to Vermont on Oct. 4, 2009… Last season's game between UMBC and Delaware State on Oct. 2 in Dover, Del., also ended in a 4-1 Retriever win… UMBC has outscored the Hornets, 25-2, in four games all-time.