BALTIMORE – After a 2-0 start for the first time since 1996, the UMBC women's soccer team posted their highest ranking in program history, coming in at No. 9 on the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Continental Tire NCAA Division I Northeast Poll, as announced by the NSCAA on Tuesday. The Retrievers look to continue momentum when they hit the road for the first time this season on Friday, Aug. 29 when they do battle with Howard at 7 p.m. at Greene Stadium.
"We were very happy with the way the team responded in the second half against Loyola and we are happy to have had a successful opening weekend," said head coach Leslie Wray. "It is an honor to be receiving recognition from the NSCAA. Now we have to continue to work hard to stay amongst such a prominent crowd, and that starts with Howard on Friday."
Scouting the Retrievers
-UMBC, the America East preseason favorite, used a pair of victories in the opening week of the season to earn its second-ever ranking in the NSCAA regional poll. The Retrievers opened their 2014 slate with a 1-0 victory against Navy on Friday, Aug. 22, behind the foot of junior Alexa Quaranta (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) and added a 3-2 come-from-behind victory with three straight goals versus local-rival Loyola , including a pair of goals from freshman Lisa Nanov (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Cumberland Valley) on Monday, Aug. 25.
-The Retrievers earned their first season-opening victory since Aug. 20, 2010 against Delaware State, 4-1, on Friday when it defeated Navy, also marking the black and gold's first against the Mids since Sept. 4, 1994. Monday's win over Loyola accounted for the Retrievers' 12th-straight home victory, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that prior to the streak, the program had not won a home game since its season-opening victory in 2010 against the Hornets.
- Nanov, one of two freshmen in the Retrievers' starting lineup, has placed two of her three shots in the back of the net for the Retrievers to pilot the squad with four points. Quranta has also challenged opposing goalkeepers, placing five her of six shots on net, and has chipped in a goal and an assist.
-Junior goalkeeper Jen Nance (Millersville, Md./Severna Park) had an outstanding first week, tallying six combined saves, registering her first-collegiate shutout and stopping a penalty kick versus Navy.
Scouting the Bison
-In its inaugural season in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, Howard was chosen sixth out of 11 teams in the league's annual preseason poll. The Bison brought back 14 returners from last season's 6-7-2 team.
-Howard dropped its season-opener on Friday in Lexington, Va., falling to VMI, 2-1. Senior midfielder Nia Walcott evened the contest at one apiece in the 50th minute, but the Bison were unable to hold on, allowing the game-winner in the 73rd minute. Walcott was named the league's Offensive Athlete of the Week on Monday.
Inside the Series
-The Retrievers are a perfect 11-0 all-time against the Bison.
-Last year, UMBC and Howard met for the first time since 2007, a contest that ended in a 3-0 Retrievers' victory.