The UMBC women’s soccer team opened play in the America East with a 2-1 loss to Maine, but the Retrievers have righted the ship courtesy of a three-game winning streak.
Since that setback to the Black Bears on Sept. 29, UMBC has defeated Binghamton, 1-0 in double overtime on Oct. 3; Albany, 3-1, on Oct. 6; and Vermont, 2-1, on Thursday. The team’s response to the loss to Maine was welcomed by coach Leslie Wray.
“It’s great, and I said just the other day that we keep asking more of these players, and their response keeps coming up positive,” she said Monday afternoon. “So with the loss to Maine, we could still take away some good things from that game that we needed to work on into the next game. We went into overtime against Binghamton and we had that push, and they kept responding to what we were asking.”
With an 8-4 overall record and 3-1 mark in the league, the Retrievers have nine points, which puts them in a tied for second place with Stony Brook (8-4-1, 3-1). Both teams trail the Black Bears (6-4-4, 3-1-1), who have 10 points.
UMBC appears to have fortified its bid to qualify for the six-team America East tournament for the first time since 2005. But the Retrievers will end a week-long respite with a road contest at the Seawolves this Thursday.
“This is the crucial game,” Wray said. “With this game, there are a few things that can happen. We can look to get a higher seed so that we can host. We can look to push ourselves into a position to have a bye. So right now, it’s not just that we’re knocking on the door of the conference tournament. We really have to make that push to get advantages once we’re in the conference tournament.”
After Thursday against Stony Brook, UMBC still has games against UMass Lowell (0-13, 0-4), Hartford (8-4-3, 3-2) and New Hampshire (3-5-6, 1-0-3). It is a critical stretch that could determine the Retrievers’ postseason fate.
“We’re happy with where we are,” she said. “We know we have our eye on that goal, but we know that we have another four tough games ahead of us in our conference. So maybe we’re halfway through, but we really need to pull out quality wins within the next two weeks to put us in a good spot for the conference tournament.”