UMBC’s 3-1 victory over Loyola Saturday night -- aired via a webcast by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America -- may have earned the program some more fans. The win definitely garnered the team some respect.
Top Drawer Soccer was so impressed by the Retrievers (7-0-0) that they moved the team from No. 17 to No. 8 in Top Drawer's most recent rankings. It is the first time that the program – the only team in the top 25 that does not have a loss or a tie – has ever earned top 10 billing, coach Pete Caringi Jr. said Monday.
"We've never been in the top 10," Caringi said. "I think the highest we've been is [No.] 11. To get into the top 10 is an accomplishment. But like I said, I think there’s a little bit of looking at it and being happy about it, but today, I didn’t even really mention it to anyone on the team.
"We looked at it and said that’s great, but let’s get ready for Wednesday [versus 4-1-1 George Mason]. That’s a big difference from the past, when we would've taken an extra day or two to be all excited about a national ranking and then maybe not play our best after that."
UMBC scored the first two goals en route to tagging the Greyhounds (5-1-1) with their first loss of the season. Defeating an opponent that was enjoying similar success was especially satisfying, but Caringi said you couldn’t tell by judging the players during Monday's practice.
"I think we really have been handling things well," he said. "Even after a win like that, I thought our practice today was pretty good. And we have another big game on Wednesday. So, I think the maturity of this team and the character is coming through. I think a couple years ago, we would’ve been excited and probably tired in practice and kind of been a little immature. But this group is a lot more focused ... we’ve got bigger games down the road.
"These guys got to the second round of the NCAA tournament last year. So, they have some experience."
The Retrievers remained at No. 21 in College Soccer News' top 30 poll. The rankings compiled by the NSCAA – where they were also No. 21 – will be released Tuesday.