By DYLAN HAND
For the third straight game the women’s soccer team needed overtime to end its game, but on Sunday, it didn’t end the way the team wanted. The afternoon match against the Northeastern University Huskies was a defensive battle, with no goals scored in regulation. It wasn’t until the second overtime period when the Huskies’ junior midfielder Breeana Koemans scored to end the game exactly one minute into the second extra frame.
With the loss, the Wildcats drop to 2-5-3 on the season.
Coming into the game, the Wildcats expected to spend a lot of time in their own defensive end, thanks to the Huskies’ high-powered offense. That turned out to be the case as the Northeastern outshot New Hampshire 29-8. It was the Huskies who dictated the game’s pace but they were unable to cash in on their many chances. The big reason Northeastern’s attack was the stellar play of junior goalkeeper Mimi Borkan, who made a season-high 11 saves. While the statistic is a great personal accomplishment for Borkan, it highlights how many shots Northeastern directed her way.
“We expected more of a defensive day I guess you could say. Obviously we still want to attack and get forward but I think we did a good job to limit their dangerous chances. I know they did have chances and some of my saves were easy clean collections, and that makes the number high, but that’s my job,” said Borkan.
The only scoring play of the game turned out to be the final play. New Hampshire finally strung together a few good chances at the end of regulation, marked by an excellent shot from senior forward Caroline Murray, who made a quick move to the right to open up space and fired a shot just over the crossbar. In the first overtime period, Borkan had to make two tough saves off of Northeastern chances early in the period.
The Huskies did not take long to get a chance in the second overtime, as Koemans took a pass from freshman midfielder Valentna Soares Gache and fired a shot from 25 yards out right under the crossbar for the game winner.
Sunday’s match marked the UNH team’s sixth overtime game in 10 games this season. The Wildcats have played in four double-overtime games, and two single-overtime games, and do not have a win in any of the contests. All those losses and ties are not for nothing, according to Welham.
“I think the positive thing is that we can show that we can go deep in games, and against some of the better teams in the country,” Welham said.
It cannot be easy playing so much extra soccer this early in the season. According to Borkan, it is taxing on the ladies’ bodies, but their attitude is still positive.
“Yeah I mean I think everyone’s definitely exhausted. It gets to a point where obviously the games are long and I think we are probably averaging over 90 minutes on the season which is crazy but I think the mentality is still good and we want to go and compete and win whether it is regulation or overtime,” Borkan said.
The Wildcats have a chance to get plenty of rest before the next game. The team has a week off before its next game on Sunday, Sept. 27. The Wildcats will use this time to not only rest and recover from all their extra soccer, but also to work on some things in practice.
“I think it’s a combination. We obviously have to focus on recovering and getting our players healthy. We’re going to make sure everyone’s good to go for conference play but we’re also going to train hard,” Borkan said, adding that the team is ready for a statement win against Binghamton to start play in the conference next weekend.
The game on Sept. 27 against Binghamton will start at 2 p.m. on UNH’s Bremner Field.