The UMBC men's soccer team opens its 2010 season on Thursday, Sept. 2 when they host the VMI Keydets. The opening kick-off is set for 4:30 p.m. at UMBC Soccer Stadium. There will be free hot dogs for the first 300 UMBC students, a t-shirt exchange (bring any t-shirt and exchange it for a "new-logo" t-shirt) and black and gold "World-Cup"-style face painting.
NOTING THE RETRIEVERS
Head Coach Pete Caringi enters year No. 20 at UMBC. UMBC has won its last four season openers and is 17-2 under Caringi in lid-lifters. In home openers, the Retrievers are 16-2-1 in 19 previous debuts.
Last season, UMBC opened with a 3-1 home win over Virginia Tech and proceeded to start the campaign at 9-0-0, posting the nation's best start.
The Retrievers were selected third in the America East Conference preseason poll. UMBC received one first-place vote. Boston U. was the preseason favorite, just one vote ahead of defending league champion Stony Brook.
Senior F/M Levi Houapeu led the nation in scoring last season with 43 points (15g, 13a). He needs two assists to enter UMBC's all-time top ten in helpers. Junior forward Andrew Bulls placed second in the NCAA in scoring with 41 points (15g, 11a) and needs two goals to become the 11th player in school history to score 25 in a career. He also needs five points to enter the top ten in that category.
NOTING THE KEYDETS
The Keydets have 16 letter winners and nine starters returning from the 2009 squad, which posted a 2-15-1 record and a 1-7-0 mark in the Big South Conference. Today's contest will be the first for new head coach Richie Rose.
The Keydets will be led by senior netminder Brian Sowell, who led the Big South Conference with 6.24 saves per game last season. Junior defender Ayao Sossou earned Second-Team All-Big South honors, while senior midfielder Brian Harding scored three goals for VMI in 2009.
INSIDE THE SERIES
UMBC has won the previous two meetings with VMI, triumphing, 2-0 in Lexington in 1987 and capturing a 4-0 victory at home in 1997.
UMBC will host 2009 Southern Conference champion Wofford on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 4:00 p.m. at UMBC Soccer Stadium.