No. 7 UMBC suffered its first loss of the season when Delaware pulled off a 1-0 upset in double overtime Tuesday night at Retriever Soccer Park. The loss was the team’s first since a 2-1 defeat to Albany on Oct. 10 of last year, snapping an unbeaten streak of 18 games.
Retrievers coach Pete Caringi would not have been faulted for being upset about the loss, but he sounded philosophical about the outcome, which dropped the team to 9-1-0 this fall.
“You hate to lose, and obviously, we hadn’t lost in a long time,” he said Wednesday morning. “But it wasn’t like we were outplayed or felt like we didn’t give it our best. Sometimes soccer can be a cruel sport. It’s not always the best team that wins.”
The loss might have been interpreted as a relief for UMBC, which no longer will have to answer questions about trying to complete a perfect season. But Caringi said the mood in the locker room after the game was quiet.
“I think there was a mood of shock because of the goal they scored,” he said of sophomore forward Joe Dipre’s shot that deflected off the foot of a Retrievers defender and slipped past fifth-year senior goalkeeper Phil Saunders (Perry Hall) with 3:23 left in the second overtime.
“There wasn’t a point during the game when we thought we weren’t going to win or get a tie out of it. I think they were shocked because we’ve had nothing but success with that group. But I told them that as much as we hate to lose, you learn from it and you move on. It’s not like Delaware wasn’t a good team. They’re a very good team. They’re 8-1.”
UMBC will open America East play with a road game against Hartford on Saturday night. The Hawks are 6-1-2 and suffered their first loss of the year, 1-0 against George Mason, this past Saturday.
Caringi said he anticipates that the Retrievers will play with plenty of motivation.
“I think they’re upset,” he said of his players. “These kids are winners, and I expect us to rebound. It doesn’t get any easier being on the road against Hartford, and I think in the last couple years with this particular group, when conference play comes around, we understand how important it is to get off to a good start because there’s no guarantee. Do I think they will be an angry UMBC team? I think they will be a group that is resolved to go up there and try to get a result, but I think Hartford is really good this year. Defensively, they’re really good this year. So it should be a battle between our offense and their defense. We’ll see what happens.”