By Sam Rabuck, Staff Writer
The 2014 UNH Women’s Soccer campaign has been nothing short of dramatic this season. For the third game in a row and the fourth time this season, the Wildcats (4-8-2) headed to overtime Sunday afternoon and ultimately lost a tightly contested match against Hartford University (8-2-3), by a score of 1-0.
Although the Wildcats failed to find the back of the net, the opportunities were there for UNH. In the first half of play, the Wildcats outshot Hartford 12-4 and dominated time of possession in the offensive zone.
Head coach Steve Welham acknowledged that his team was certainly superior in the first half, but pointed out that their lack of ability to take advantage of scoring opportunities ultimately led to their downfall.
“The game was about capitalizing on opportunities,” Welham said. “They were able to do that and we weren’t.”
The Wildcats had an opportunity to go ahead in the 69th minute of action when senior Caroline Murray served up a dime to freshman Brooke Murphy. Murphy put a strong foot into the ball, but Hartford’s goalkeeper, Jessica Jurg, dove quickly to her right and made a spectacular diving save.
The teams exchanged shots and played physically for the remainder of the second half, with neither team being able to gain a distinct advantage.
As the teams entered overtime, the Wildcats jumped out to an early advantage when Murphy picked off a pass in the midfield and led the Wildcats counterattack.
Murphy left one defender behind as she faked right and passed the ball to Murphy with her left foot. Murray took the ball in the stride, and took off towards the left side of the box. With three Hawks defenders bearing down, Murray stopped on a dime and exploded to her right. From 20 yards out, Murray faked out the goalie and launched a rocket that hit the crossbar, bounced down in front of the net and was ultimately corralled by Jurg.
“I think everyone’s going to focus on doing some extra shooting this week,” Murray said. “If we as a team focus on the technical aspect of it, the goals will eventually come.”
With three minutes left to play in the overtime period, Hartford’s Kristen McAdam’s took advantage of a Wildcats’ defensive miscue and put the ball past Borkan giving the Hawks a sudden-victory goal.
The crossbar that Murray hit was the 11th time the Wildcats have hit the post at home this season, which Welham feels is evidence that his Wildcats are creating solid offensive chances.
“It wasn’t for a lack of effort, or heart or execution,” Welham said. “It was some bad luck, but luck is the residue of design.”