By Nathan Grube
After a week off, the UMBC women’s soccer team will take on Mount Saint Mary’s University and Towson University in the upcoming Battle of Baltimore series. The Mountaineers have had a tough start to the 2014 season, as they have zero wins in seven games. Through their first six games Mount Saint Mary’s failed to score a goal, they finally picked one up in a 7-1 loss to Bucknell University.
The Retrievers have scored seven goals in their five games this season, and freshman Lisa Nanov and senior Lilly Rydon have more goals than the entire Mount Saint Mary’s team with two apiece.
Bucknell is the only team that both schools played and the Retrievers beat the Bisons 2-1. The Retrievers are coming off a close loss to St. Joseph’s University, but they have been given a week off to prepare for this game.
Coach Leslie Wray is happy that the team was able to get a week off and then not have to travel far for their next two road games.
“It has been nice because we had a week off to prepare for this game. It is not overnight, so we do not have to sit in the bus for three hours,” Wray said. “Our students can go to class on Thursday and Friday and it will not be too different from having a home match.”
Towson is having more success this season than Mount Saint Mary’s, as they come into the Battle of Baltimore with a record of 2-3-1. Towson has scored six goals this year, led by senior Katie Ponce and freshman Gabby Scirica. The Tigers are coming off a tough season, winning just two conference games in 2013. They did, however, go 6-4 in out of conference games that same year.
The Tigers have experience in their goal with senior Erin Quinn getting the majority of the minutes in goal. Quinn has allowed eight goals this season, but has also saved 24 shots. Towson does have a negative goal differential however, thanks to a five goal loss to nationally ranked Georgetown University.
The Retrievers’ best chance to score against Towson will be to put the pressure on early in the first half. Towson has allowed seven goals in the first half of games, and just one goal in the second half. They also get better at scoring later in the game, they have two goals in the first half and four in the second.
The Retrievers do not have any local teams in their conference, so getting the chance to play local universities can be rare. Wray and the team appreciate this chance.
“That is what is so nice about being in this area. We can have competitive play that is outside the conference, but will be similar to the style of play we will see in the conference. We have teams in this area that are strong, athletic and are going to fight for the ball,” Wray said.
Coming in at 4-1, the Retrievers have momentum heading into competition. While there is no formal trophy for the tournament, there will be an all-tournament team. UMBC wants to make sure they have as many players on the team as possible.
The Retrievers will first take on Mount Saint Mary’s at Loyola University on September 12, before facing Towson at the Tiger Soccer Complex the following day.