By SAM DONNELLY
Although the season is just getting under way, The UNH men’s soccer team is doing all the right things. Through the first three games under new head coach Marc Hubbard, the Wildcats are 2-0-1 and have scored eight goals. Through three games in the past two seasons the Wildcats scored just four goals and combined for a record of 2-3-1.
“Learning how to handle success is just as hard as getting that success,” Hubbard said. “We need to continually stay humble and always look forward.”
The Wildcats opened their season up with a win at Hartwick College, 2-1. UNH tallied 10 shots, with six being on goal, while holding Hartwick to just one shot on goal. The Wildcats got goals from freshman midfielder Chris Arling and senior midfielder Ben Ramin.
The Wildcats then travelled to New York to take on Marist. After falling down 1-0 in the 35th minute, The Wildcats scored three unanswered goals to take 3-1 win, improving their record to 2-0. The goals came from senior defender Connor Pauley, Ramin, and junior forward Karl Frisk.
UNH finished off the New York trip with a tie against a strong Siena team, 3-3. The Wildcats took a 2-1 lead with a goal in the 64th minute by senior midfielder Fazal Nabi. The lead was short lived as the Saints scored two goals in 7 minutes to take a 3-2 lead. With their backs against the wall, the Wildcats found an equalizer in the 77th minute off a penalty kick from junior midfielder Charles Wingate. The Wildcats took the tie and now sit at 2-0-1.
The Wildcats problems in past seasons have been putting the ball in the back of the net. If the first three games are any indication, that problem is no longer the team’s biggest issue.
“We are trying to get guys in better spots,” Hubbard said. “We try to create as many opportunities as possible. We are possessing higher up the field and sending more runners into the box.”
Despite the success through their first three games, Hubbard has made it clear that this team hasn’t reached its potential yet.
“We aren’t anywhere close to where we want to be,” Hubbard said. “Things will be harder now. The mental grind with school starting and other things are now in play.”
Although there is a new head coach and a new goalie, the Wildcats are returning plenty of starters both at midfield and forward. Three of their top five point scorers from last season are returning this year in Nabi, Wingate, and senior midfielder A.J Albers.
“Anytime you’re a senior there is a sense of urgency,” Hubbard said. “It helps you focus more on the little things.
The Wildcats will travel to the University of Vermont Windjammer Fall Classic where they will take on Central Connecticut State College and UNC Ashville. The Wildcats are in a new system, with a new coach, and perhaps a new state of mind. But for now, Hubbard makes it clear he isn’t finished learning either.
“Our guys are moldable and coachable,” Hubbard said. “They take every opportunity to learn. We all need to put everything together.”