COLLEGE PARK - UMBC headed south yesterday, a soccer team with a mission. And the Retrievers were glad they had Giuliano Celenza to send to the front line.
The diminutive striker with the big foot scored twice - and could have had four goals with a friendlier goal frame - as UMBC defeated No. 17 Maryland, 2-0, before 817 at Ludwig Field.
Celenza wasn't with the Retrievers two years ago in the last meeting between the schools when the Terps established its Ludwig record for goals in a 6-1 rout. Senior midfielder Ryan Cuomo, was there, recording the lone UMBC goal. And he hasn't forgotten.
"This was a big game for us," said Cuomo, who played with Celenza at Archbishop Curley. "We wanted to come out and show who we are. We're the other best team in Maryland. We've come a long way."
UMBC (4-1) joined the national Top 25 midway through last season and stayed until Sunday's 2-1 overtime setback to Loyola dropped it out. Maryland (2-3), which leads the series 11-2-2, is ailing, having lost starting midfielder Scott Buete and forward A.J. Herrera to medical redshirts because of foot injuries since Saturday. The Terps have three losses for the first time in seven years.
Seven minutes after hitting the far post from the top right of the penalty area, Celenza found net to give UMBC a 1-0 lead. Catching Maryland watching, rather than clearing a loose ball, the 5-foot-6, 155-pound forward took control and took a couple of steps the top right of the box and launched a shot that beat Ellicott City goalkeeper Christian Lewis into the top near corner with 18:44 elapsed.
"I turned, touched it once and I was open so I hit it," said Celenza, who has a team-leading six goals. "It came off somewhere. I don't even know. Maybe a chest."
Celenza wasn't through. In the 40th minute, he rocked the right post from inside the box.
In the 74th minute, the Terps lost sight of Celenza, and it cost them. He sprinted unattended down the right flank, took a pass from midfielder Matt Gormley, cut into the box and drilled a shot that went right and then left over a handcuffed Lewis into the roof of the net.
UMBC keeper Brian Rowland earned his shutout with a smooth save to his left to catch Nick Downing's 22-yard free kick in the 70th minute and, 16 minutes later, with a diving stop of Beckett Hollenbach's attempt.
The Terps held an advantage in possession and outshot UMBC, 23-8, but the Retrievers proved more dangerous, more often.