BALTIMORE – One of the greatest seasons in UMBC’s NCAA Division I history came to a difficult end in frigid, blustery conditions at Retriever Soccer Park on Sunday evening. The fifth-ranked men’s soccer team battled traditional national power and tenth-ranked UConn to a 2-2 double overtime draw, but the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Third Round by prevailing, 4-2, in penalty kick shootout.
Pete Caringi Jr.’s squad became the first in school history to host and compete in an NCAA Division I Tournament game. The team finished the campaign with a 16-1-3 record, while the Huskies advance to the round of 16 with a record of 12-2-7.
UMBC came back from one-goal deficits on two occasions in the second half to send the contest to extra time.
After a scoreless first half, the Huskies got on the board just 69 seconds into the second half as forward Cyle Larin converted a centering feed from Mamadou Doudou Diouf midway into the box.
But UMBC would respond in the 62nd minute. After Huskie netminder Andre Blake was assessed a yellow card, the Retrievers were awarded an indirect kick just outside the box. Junior Mamadou Kansaye (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) touched it to classmate Geaton Caltabiano (Lothian, Md./Mount St. Joseph) and UMBC’s assist leader curled his effort just inside the near left post to even the score.
Diouf would figure in the go-ahead goal for UConn, as he skimmed in a header off a Adria Beso corner kick in the 74th minute.
Once again, however, the hosts were not to be denied. In the 77 th minute, the Retrievers earned a corner and Kansaye’s ball toward the back post was headed in by senior forwardPete Caringi III (Perry Hall, Md./Calvert Hall). It was Caringi’s 13th score of the season and the 37th of his storied career.
The Huskies threatened late, but UMCB senior netminder Phil Saunders (Perry Hall, Md./Perry Hall0 made a leaping save of a Nicholas Zuniga header with three minutes remaining.
UMBC senior midfielder Kadeem Dacres (Rosedale, N.Y./Mercer County CC) had the best chance in overtime just 90 seconds into the first ten-minute frame. He cracked a 22-yarder toward the upper right corner, but Blake leaped and got a glove on it to deflect it wide.
The Retrievers proceeded to their fourth consecutive penalty kick shootout in NCAA Championship play, dating back to 2010. Saunders made a save on Juho Karppinnen in round two and the Retrievers led, 2-1 after two rounds. But UConn converted their final three efforts, while Blake made stops on Dacres and Caringi to close the 2013 chapter for the Retrievers.
UConn outshot UMBC, 15-12, and Saunders tied a season-high with seven saves. The Retrievers earned 10 corners to seven for the visitors, as each team capitalized on a corner apiece.
Notes: UMBC finishes the season with a ten-game unbeaten streak… The Retrievers 1-0-4 in their last five NCAA Championship contests and 1-1-4 overall… Five of six have gone to overtime… The game marked the final appearance for Caringi, Dacres, Saunders and backTravis Dennis (Bowie, Md./Roosevelt), who all saw action in the game… Caringi finishes his career with 37 goals (fourth on the all-time list) and 91 points (fifth all-time)… Saunders final record is 44-13-10, a winning percentage of 73.1.