ORONO – The University of Maine men’s soccer team has adopted a motto for this season.
“We do not want to lose at home and, so far, we’ve accomplished that,” Black Bear junior midfielder Jordan Antonucci said Saturday after the Bears battled to a 0-0 double-overtime tie with the University of Maryland Baltimore County in a mutual America East opener.
Maine is now 3-4-2 overall after posting its third straight shutout. UMBC is 5-2-2.
“We haven’t let in a goal at home [while going 2-0-1]. We wanted a win but at least it wasn’t a loss,” added Antonucci, who was robbed by senior goalkeeper Steve King in the second OT.
Antonucci raced on to a Marc Goulet through-ball and rifled a powerful 22-yarder that King parried with his hands after he had cut down the angle. The ball went straight up in the air and landed in the arms of King.
“He made a great save. I hit it pretty well. I didn’t try to place it all that much which is something I probably could have done,” said Antonucci, who also felt King was lucky to gather in the rebound with Bears all around him.
“It was just kind of a reaction save,” said King, who made three saves on 19 shots. “Then I picked my head up and started looking around in a circle and the [rebound] was right there.”
Maine junior goalkeeper Nemanja Kostic had made a game-saving stop with nine minutes left in regulation, holding the near post to get his hands on Kevin Gnatiko’s partial break-in.
“I stayed on my line and he had a defender on his back so he couldn’t get much of an angle,” said Kostic, who finished with five saves on 25 shots.
Just three minutes earlier, UMBC’s Chris Williams’ one-hop header off an L.J. Pijnenburg corner had hit the crossbar.
After a conservative first half, the attack-minded Retrievers controlled play in the second half but couldn’t convert.
An unmarked Dan Bulls of UMBC headed Dustin Dzwonkowski’s perfectly-placed cross just wide with 18 minutes left.
Maine had the better of play in the overtimes.
“The guys played very well. They were resilient,” said Maine coach Pat Laughlin.