They were unseeded and unknown in most places but not anymore. Coach Pete Caringi’s UMBC’s soccer team has made it to the NCAA College Cup and are 1 of only 4 teams still alive in the chase for the national championship. UMBC will meet Virginia Friday night at 5:00 at WakeMed Soccer Stadium in Cary, North Carolina. If the Retrievers win Friday night they’ll meet the winner of the UCLA-Providence game Sunday for the national title. The games will be televised on ESPNU.
UMBC, better known for their chess team, has been a winner in soccer for years but nothing quite like this. They punched their ticket to the College Cup with 4 straight road wins. The UMBC underdogs had plenty of bite knocking off Wake Forest, fourth seed Maryland, Louisville and Creighton. Of course Virginia will be the favorites Friday and that’s just fine with the Retrievers.
Four times in sixteen days UMBC has been the underdog and all four times the favorites have had their season ended by the spunky Catonsville crew. UMBC is the first team in tournament history to win four consecutive road games and to post shutouts in four consecutive games to reach the College Cup. The Retrievers are finally getting noticed. They went from unranked to No. 10 in the nation in the weekly Top Drawer Soccer poll Nov. 24, then moved up to No. 8 on Dec. 1. The Retrievers are currently ranked No. 4 by TDS.
UMBC is a Baltimore team, coached by a Baltimore guy, with a bunch of Baltimore players, 19 of the 27 Retrievers come from Maryland. The Final 4 might be new to Pete Caringi but winning sure isn’t. The Retrievers are three-time defending champions in the America East Conference. Last year, they had the best regular season record in the country before losing in the second of the NCAA Tournament to Connecticut.
Pete Caringi is in his 24th season at UMBC, the East Baltimore soccer legend he was a 2-time All-American and won a D2 national championship in 1975 at the University of Baltimore. At UMBC It hasn’t been easy for him competing with schools that have bigger budgets and often better facilities. At one point he considered leaving the Retrievers to become head coach of the Baltimore Blast, but UMBC President Freeman Hrabowski convinced him stay and he’s glad he did, and now Pete Caringi’s underdog Retrievers are sniffing a national championship trophy.
Pete joined the Scott Garceau Show on Wednesday. Listen to the interview here:
College Cup– Cary, NC
UMBC (14-5-5) vs. 16-Virginia (12-6-3), 5 pm
11-Providence (16-4-2) vs. 2-UCLA (13-4-5), 7:30 pm
*Sunday Championship Game Noon
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