By Sam Donnelly, Staff Writer

The UNH men’s soccer team continued to show improvement with a 1-0 win at UMass on Sunday. Midfielder Duff Thomson scored the game winning goal in the 44th minute off a one-timer from freshman forward Will Rasid. The Wildcats then held the Minutemen away from the goal and controlled the ball to secure the win. UNH improved to 4-4-1 and this win comes right before the beginning of conference play.

“We showed a little bit more maturity,” assistant coach Logan Hoffman said. “It showed that we are getting it and buying into what we are trying to do. Mostly we managed the game well.”

Another positive from the UMass game is the return of two-time all-conference center back, Lukas Goerigk. With Goerigk’s return, Thompson might have to take a step down, a problem Hoffman said is a good one to have.

“The reality is Lukas is an all-conference center back,” Hoffman said. “Duff can play other roles for us and that’s a good trait to have.”

Thompson received America East Player of the Week for his performance.

“We have asked Duff to play so many different roles,” Hoffman said. “He has done them all to the best of his ability. He is a great soccer player.”

A bright area for the Wildcat attack in the past few games has been Rasid. Being a freshman, there isn’t much playing time to be expected, but Rasid has played significant minutes in the last two games and for good reason. Rasid has pushed the ball up the field and has the confidence to take on his defender, tallying two shots and an assist in his first games with real time.

“He is an Energizer Bunny,” Hoffman said. “We need guys who can beat their man with the ball. Will has grown into that role. He has the confidence to go at his defender time and time again.”

With a week to prepare for the conference opener, the goal remains the same. Work hard and prepare for the next opponent. Hoffman insists that nothing will change in the way the Wildcats prepare.

“It’s the same prep,” Hoffman said. “It’s all about building and getting better week in and week out. We want to play our best soccer come the conference tournament.”

Hoffman has had to step into the role of head coach after Rob Thompson has taken a leave of absence from the team. Thompson left the team after their road trip to Colorado. UNH athletics has no comment of the status of Thompson or a timetable for his return.

The Wildcats will kick off conference play on the road Saturday Oct. 4 at Stony Brook. The game will be played at 4 p.m. Despite the positive past few weeks, Hoffman makes it clear that the Wildcats are nowhere near where they need to be.

“We have improvements to make everywhere,” Hoffman said. “As a team we need to get better in the attack as 11 players and better in the defense with 11 players.”