BALTIMORE - The UMBC men'ss soccer team will compete against five teams which competed in last season's NCAA College Cup, highlighting an exciting 2010 schedule for the Retrievers.
Head Coach Pete Caringiâ's forces will also compete against all four local Division I programs, ironically with all four contests occurring on the road.
The Retrievers open their 25th NCAA Division I season on Thursday, Sept. 2 when they entertain V.M.I. at UMBC Soccer Stadium. Two days later, the team faces a stern test as they entertain Wofford, which won the Southern Conference regular season and tournament titles and finished the campaign with a record of 12-3-3.
Eight of UMBC next ten games will be on the road, led off by a contest at rival Towson on Sept. 8 and a game at Navy on Sept. 11. After a clash under the lights at UMBC Stadium with La Salle on Sept. 15, the Retrievers faces road games at Mount St. Mary's (Sept. 18), Loyola (Sept. 22) and traditional Northeast Conference power and former rival Fairleigh Dickinson (Sept. 26).
The Retrievers won decisions with Towson, La Salle, the Mount and Loyola last season en route to a 14-6-0 season. The Greyhounds went onto capture the MAAC title and earned a date with Maryland in the NCAA Tournament.
Binghamton visits UMBC to open America East play on Saturday, Oct. 2, before UMBC heads back to the road to face Bucknell for the first time ever on Oct. 5. The Bison won the Patriot League title last season and posted a record of 17-6-0.
After games at New Hampshire (Oct. 9) and Albany (Oct. 13), the soccer program will kick off midnight madness at UMBC with a night game vs. Boston University on Friday, Oct. 15.
Penn State is another new addition to the schedule and the Retrievers face the Nittany Lions in University Park, Pa. on Oct. 20.
UMBC completes the regular season with home America East contests vs. Hartford (Oct. 23) and Vermont (Oct. 27) a road clash with defending league tournament champion Stony Brook on Oct. 30.
The six-team America East Conference Tournament is slated to begin on Nov. 6 and the title game will be played on Nov. 13 or 14 at the site of the highest remaining seed.
"This year, we have the toughest schedule that we have had in my time at UMBC, Caringi said. "We will play three national powerhouses, Penn State, FDU and Bucknell all on the road. Playing nationally-ranked teams on the road will only make us a better team come conference-time in America East."
UMBC has never played all four of the local Division I programs in the same season.
"I feel that playing all of the local schools is an obligation to the Baltimore soccer community," said Caringi, who enters his 20th season at UMBC. "They are some of the toughest games on our schedule and guys loving playing against some of the same players that they played with or against on the club and high school levels. It is great to get Navy back on our schedule; we have shared a tournament with them for the last several years and they are an up-and-coming program. Loyola has been to the tournament the last three years and Towson and Mount St. Mary's play in two very strong conferences. All four games will be away from UMBC, only adding to the difficulty of the matches."
Seventeen of 19 letterwinners and all 11 starters are slated to return for UMBC, which did not have a senior on its active roster in 2009. The Retrievers surged out to a 9-0-0 record and a national ranking before dropping five of its next eight games prior to the America East Tournament. But the fifth-seeded Retrievers won playoff games at Binghamton and New Hampshire, before falling at upstart Stony Brook in the championship game.
Coach Caringi expects league play to be spirited again in 2010. "The America East has proven to be one of the toughest conferences in the country. Every game is highly competitive, and with the amount of travel involved, and the number of teams that go to the tournament, every game is extremely important. BostonUniversity will be one of the favorites, along with the defending champions Stony Brook. As last year proved, the league will be wide open and I feel any team is capable of putting a good streak together to win the title."
Notes: Bucknell, Loyola (Md.), Penn State ,Stony Brook and Wofford all appeared in the NCAA College Cup in 2009… Coach Caringi won his 200th game at UMBC last season and is 200-127-37 in 19 years… UMBC will face Wofford, Bucknell and Penn State for the first-time ever in 2010… The Retrievers have not played V.M.I. since 1997 and have won both career meetings with the Keydets… The meeting between UMBC and FDU will be the first since UMBC left the conference after the 2002 campaign… The Knights are unbeaten in the last eight meetings vs. the Retrievers and lead the series, 5-1-3... UMBC is slated to play ten contests under the lights this season.