As the new semester kicked into action, so did the men’s soccer team. This past weekend on Friday the 28th and Sunday the 30th, the men’s soccer team hosted the Hampton Inn BWI Classic right here at the Retriever Soccer Park, and the games were well worth watching.
With a record game attendance of 2,874, all eyes were on the field at Friday night’s game against Fairfield University as the team’s American East championship trophy from 2014 was brought out for all to see. Their 2014 College Cup banner, to be hung up in the RAC, made an appearance as well.
The first half of the game against Fairfield began with strong offense work from the Retrievers. Just five minutes into the game saw 2 attempted goals by #8 forwarder senior Michael Scott. Their defense was on point as well, with goalie Billy Heavener saving 2 goals in a 4 minute span later in the game.
Unfortunately for the team, the first half ended with a losing score of 0-1. At 36:26, Cominic Marshall of Fairfield scored an unassisted 18 yard goal.
The Retrievers ran into the second half of the game stronger than ever, striving to make a comeback. The team managed kicking 13 shots during this period, tallying up to 17 total by the time the half was over.
At the 60:17 mark, UMBC was distraught once more as another goal by Marshall of Fairfield was scored via penalty kick. But support for the Retrievers would never die, audience members cheered and blew horns and banged drums as the team continued to revive their game.
Extreme efforts made by the offense of the Retrievers proved to be worth it when the first UMBC goal of the season was successfully seized, unassisted, by #9 midfielder senior Joseph Pratt at 68:24. 18 minutes and 30 seconds later, the second goal of the season was scored by midfielder #20 junior Kennedy O’Shea. This would tie the game at 2-2.
20 minutes of head-to-head overtime led to a few close calls for more points for both sides, but to no avail. The Retrievers would walk away with the 2-2 tie.
The 1,080 Retrievers who attended Sunday’s game against University of Central Arkansas, however, were in for a tasty treat.
The first half of the game was already stronger than the second half of Friday’s game. The ratio of offensive playing to defensive playing was relatively even throughout for both teams in the beginning, but what would occur the rest of the game proved UMBC’s continuing strength from last year.
The first of five scores by UMBC occurred at 16:40 by Scott off a cross from #32 sophomore forwarder Cormac Noel. At 32:13, #21 forwarder Darius Madison, with assists from #22 freshman midfielder James Gielen and #13 sophomore midfielder Gregg Hauck, kicked in the second goal giving the Retrievers 2-0 lead at the half.
In the second half the ball would find itself three more times in the net of Central Arkansas. Noel scored the third point for the team at 71:55 when he kicked an off-header from #77 senior midfielder Malcolm Harris and Hauck.
By the time Hauck provided team with their fourth point 73:02 minutes into the match with an assist from O’Shea, the Retrievers knew they had clutched the win. As fans praised the team, players ran up to the audience and beckoned them to cheer more, smiling.
The last of the chronicle of goals was shot at the 84:32 minute mark by #19 junior midfielder Christian Morales. This was quite the impressive goal; unassisted, the ball traveled 22 yards to reach the net.
After this weekend, the Retrievers have 1 tie and 1 win behind them as they look ahead to continue a successful streak.