BALTIMORE- UMBC junior forward Kadeem Dacres (Rosedale, N.Y./Mercer County CC) scored in the 23rd minute of play and a stingy defense made the goal hold up as the second-seeded Retrievers (11-4-4) edged No. 3 Stony Brook (11-6-1), 1-0, in an America East Conference Championship semifinal contest played in less-than-ideal conditions at Retriever Soccer Park.
UMBC advances to the championship game, where they will host No. 5 New Hampshire (7-7-5), on Sat., Nov. 10 at 7:00 p.m. The Wildcats have upset No. 4 Albany and No. 1 Vermont to reach the title game.
The contest will be a rematch of the 2010 title game, in which the seeds were exactly as they are this year. UMBC and UNH played to a scoreless draw, but UMBC advanced to the NCAA College Cup by prevailing in penalty kicks, 5-4.
UMBC has won six consecutive games, outscoring their opponents, 19-3, in that span.
The Retrievers have now reached the title game in three out of the last four years, falling to Stony Brook in 2009.
"I have to give a lot of credit to our defense," said head coach Pete Caringi, Jr., who won his 400th career game (400-170-48, 32 seasons) "At the end of the year, even though we have scored a lot of goals, they have shut the other team down. When you minimize the other team's opportunities, then you are going to do well. And now, our defense, along with Phil Saunders, is playing great. "
Both teams had good chances in the first 12 minutes of action. In the sixth minute, UMBC junior forward Pete Caringi III (Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall) captured a ball played over the top by senior midfielder Milo Kapor (Toronto, Ont./Emily Carr) and broke down the left side, but his low drive was saved by Stony Brook senior netminder Stefan Manz.
The defending champions countered in the 12th minute, as America East Midfielder of the year Leonardo Fernandes trapped a ball and beat his defender in the box, but his 15-yard effort sailed over the crossbar.
Dacres and the Retrievers took advantage of a Stony Brook error to score the game's lone goal. Dacres stole an errant pass thirty yards from the goal and outraced a defender deep into the box along the left wing. Dacres ripped a six-yard shot over Manz' shoulder and under the roof of the cage for his fifth goal of the season.
Stony Brook had a chance to tie the score in the 26th minute, but Berian Gobeil's shot from close range eluded UMBC junior goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall), but America East Defender of the Year senior Liam Paddock (Worcestershire, England) cleared the ball from harm's way two yards from the cage.
UMBC had the better of the play throughout the game, which was played in chilly, breezy conditions with occasional rain. But Stony Brook did get its chances, most notably hitting the post on a shot by Raphael Abreu from close range in the 58th minute.
A final header from SBU midfielder Will Casey with eight seconds left went wide of the near left post, setting off a celebration from UMBC's players.
UMBC outshot SBU, 12-5, and Saunders did not make a save on the evening. Manz was credited with four saves for the Seawolves.
UMBC and UNH played to a 1-1 double overtime tie in Durham, N.H. on Oct. 6. The series is all square at 4-4-4.