BALTIMORE – The 17th-ranked UMBC men’s soccer team scored twice in a span of 2:39 midway through the second half to erase a 1-0 deficit and edge Oakland, 2-1, to capture The Westin/Sheraton BWI Classic in front of 1,024 fans at Retriever Soccer Park.
Junior striker Kennedy O’Shea (South Riding, Va.) and senior forward Darius Madison (Philadelphia, Pa.) each scored highlight-reel style goals to lead UMBC (3-0-1) to its second tournament title of the young season.
Oakland, a 2014 NCAA Tournament squad which defeated Navy, 3-2, in overtime on Friday, slipped to 2-2-0 on the season. UMBC defeated Ohio State, 1-0, on Friday evening and Navy blanked the Buckeyes, 3-0, earlier on Sunday afternoon.
The Golden Grizzlies carried the momentum from the extra-time win over Navy into the first half versus UMBC, as they controlled the pace of play for much of the stanza. They cashed in when Austin Ricci won a ball deep on the right wing and sent it into the box. The pass deflected off the boot of a UMBC defender and right to an unguarded Matt Rickard, who finished from nine yards out to provide the visitors with a 1-0 edge.
UMBC junior netminder Billy Heavner (Landisville, Pa.), who made a dazzling one-on-one save to deny Alec Greene in the 34th minute, came up with another brilliant stop to keep the deficit at 1-0 early in the second half. Just 30 seconds into the frame, Ricci got past the left side of the UMBC defense, but his shot towards the far post was knocked away by Heavner.
The save seemed to inspire the hosts as UMBC took five of the game’s next six shots and scored on the latter pair of efforts. O’Shea, who re-entered the game in the 56th minute, scored his second goal of the season just five minutes later. Senior midfielder Michael Scott (Fife, Scotland) served a ball from the left edge of the box and O’Shea got to the near post and headed it past OU netminder Eliott Tarney to even the score.
With the crowd still buzzing from the tying goal, Madison sent them into a frenzy with a brilliant strike in the 63rd minute. Madison held the ball outside the left alley of the box until he had a little space and then unleashed a 24-yard shot which hooked out of the reach of a diving Tarney and just inside the near right post.
For Madison, it was his second consecutive game-winning goal for UMBC and his third score in four games as a Retriever.
Rickard would have Oakland’s best chance to tie the game, but his 20-yarder in the 75th minute went a couple of feet over the crossbar.
Heavner made three saves for the Retrievers, while Tarney was credited with one for the Golden Grizzlies. UMBC outshot OU, 8-6 and took six corners to three for their guests.
Heavner, Madison, senior midfielders Joseph Pratt (Gaithersburg, Md./Gaithersburg) and Malcolm Harris (Damascus, Md./McDonogh) and junior back Bill Kerr (Bowie, Md/DeMatha) earned All-Tournament team honors for the victors.
UMBC will face its first road test of the season when they take a short trip over to Loyola (Md.) to face the Greyhounds on Sat., Sept. 12 at 7:00 p.m.