BALTIMORE – The top-seeded UMBC women's soccer team looks to add another first to its historic season as it competes in its first America East Championship game on Saturday, Nov. 9 when they host No. 2 Stony Brook. The black and gold will look to hold off the Seawolves from garnering back-to-back tournament titles, while the Retrievers look for their first tournament title in program history. Game time is set for 7 p.m. at Retriever Soccer Park, with the first 200 UMBC students receiving free admission to the contest. All the live action can be seen on UMBCretrievers.tv, with Gary Stein and Dan Levin on the call.
UMBC (12-5-2) has experienced one of the biggest turnarounds across the nation over the past season, going from 1-11-5 in 2012, to posting the program's highest win total ever in 2013 with a 12-5-2 mark. Their winning percentage differential of .478 ranks second across Division I behind only UAB (.495). The Retrievers went from worst in the conference a season ago (0-5-3) to the No. 1 seed in the America East tournament (6-2-0) and a share of its first-ever regular season title. Most recently, UMBC defeated No. 4 Hartford in the America East Semifinals, 2-0. The Retrievers, who had scored four first half goals all season, notched a pair of opening period scores to defeat the Hawks and earn the Retrievers' first-ever America East postseason victory.
The black and gold has had 11 different players register a point in the 2013 campaign, including seven returners registering their first collegiate goals on the year. The Retrievers are led offensively by a pair of All-Conference First Team honorees in sophomore Alexa Quaranta (Baltimore, Md./Perry Hall) and red-shirt junior Jessy Brown (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage). After moving from the back position earlier in the season, Quaranta has sparked the Retrievers' offense with a team-best 17 points on eight goals and one assist. Quaranta, who picked up the game-winner in the semifinal victory against Hartford, was named the America East Women's Soccer Fans' Choice Player of the Year. Brown picked up UMBC's first America East major award by being named Co-Midfielder of the Year. The Plantation, Fla., native has totaled six goals on the season, with five accounting for game-winners and the sixth representing a game-tying goal. Brown chipped in three assists for 15 points on the season.
Defensively, UMBC boasts a pair of America East All-Conference Second Team recipients in sophomore back Amira Walcott (Beltsville, Md./Eleanor Roosevelt) and senior goalkeeperLauren Kadet (Oakville, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas). Kadet became the program's all-time saves leader earlier this season, posting 383 stops in her career, and has dropped down her goals against average to 0.95 scores per game in 2013. Kadet tabbed her fifth shutout of the season to rank fifth all-time at UMBC in career shutouts (10).
Stony Brook (11-5-2) defeated Maine, 2-1, in double overtime in the regular season finale to earn a share of the regular-season conference title, its first since joining the league in 2001. After a bye in the quarterfinals, Stony Brook faced No. 3 Maine for the second time in a week. SBU posted a one-goal lead in the first half, as Leah Yurko rebounded home a Larissa Bysch shot. Maine was able to punch in the equalizer with 10:58 to go in regulation. After a pair of scoreless overtimes, the game was sent to penalty kicks, where the Seawolves were denied on their first attempt, but connected on their next three to advance to the finals. Goalkeeper Ashley Castanio, who was named the league's Goalkeeper of the Year after leading the conference in saves, tallied a tournament record 16 saves in the contest and added stops on three of the four Black Bear penalty kicks.
The Seawolves make their second consecutive America East title game appearance after winning the tournament last season as the sixth seed. SBU defeated six of eight America East opponents during the regular season, with its two losses coming in overtime against Hartford (3-2 OT) and UMBC (2-1 2OT). AEC First Team honoree Nysch leads the charge with 10 scores and 25 points on the season. Fellow First Team recipient Stella Norman added a team-best six assists to go with five goals.
Regular Season 2013
UMBC extended its win streak to four with a 2-1 double overtime victory against Stony Brook on Oct. 17. The Seawolves took advantage of a UMBC defensive miscue on a free kick from sophomore back Stella Norman, taking the 1-0 advantage in the 31st minute on a Retriever own goal. Sophomore forward Alexa Quaranta evened the contest at one in the 54thminute, as freshman midfielder Meg Kowalski dished out one of her two helpers in the contest to allow Quaranta for the quick dribble and shot. Red-shirt junior Jessy Brown tallied her fifth game-winner of the season in the 103rd minute, striking off a one-touch passes from Kowalski and Quaranta.
-UMBC trails the all-time series 4-9-1 after a 2-1 double overtime victory against the Seawolves on Oct. 17.
-Each of the last two contests between UMBC and SBU has gone into double overtime, with last season's game resulting in a 1-1 draw on Oct. 14, 2012.
-Stony Brook leads the series, 3-2-0, when playing on UMBC's home field, however, the Retrievers are 9-2 at home this season, including a 5-0 mark against America East opponents.
-UMBC and SBU have never met in postseason play.
-Seven of 14 games between the Retrievers and Seawolves have been decided by one goal or less. UMBC is 3-3-1 against SBU in one-goal games all-time. The Retrievers are 9-4 this season in one goal games.