By SAM DONNELLY
Wednesday night was a tough reminder for the UNH men’s soccer team that although there was plenty of early success this season, America East play has begun. The Wildcats lost at home to Binghamton 2-1, marking their first conference loss and only their second loss of the season.
“Soccer can be a harsh game,” head coach Marc Hubbard said. “We had a lot more scoring opportunities; they converted on theirs and we didn’t on ours.”
With the loss, UNH falls to 8-2-2 on the season and 2-1 in conference play. The Bearcats improve to 7-5-1 with a conference record of 2-1 as well.
After a sloppy 3-2 win against Stony Brook last Saturday, Hubbard was clearly looking for improvements from his team, and despite the outcome of the game it seems that Wednesday was, if nothing else, a step forward.
“I think it was improved in terms of our level of play,” Hubbard said. “We moved the ball better and executed well. We gave up a soft goal on a set piece and gave up an unlucky deflected goal. It is what it is.”
Early in the first half junior captain Chris Wingate dribbled down the left side past the defense, pulled up, and fired one that Binghamton goalie Robert Moewes stopped. The Bearcats came right back down the field and forced a corner kick. The corner found the head of Bearcat midfielder Zach Galluzzo and went just wide of the right side of the net.
The best chance of the first half came when a cross from redshirt senior Jimmy Petruccelli went to the far post and a streaking AJ Albers got a knee to it. Moewes got there just in time to send the ball back out and keep the score 0-0. UNH tallied four shots and three corner kicks while the Bearcats accounted for two shots and one corner kick. Senior goalie Ryan Carpenter made one save and the half ended as it began, 0-0.
In the second half, the scoring began. Binghamton scored first in the 54th minute off a header from Galluzzo to put the Bearcats up 1-0. The Wildcats responded minutes later, when a long pass from midfielder Riley Ellis found the foot of Wingate, who fired one into the back of the net.
From that point the game went back and forth for a while, with neither team controlling possession for a significant amount of time. In the 69th minute, Bearcat midfielder Logan Roberts fired a shot that was deflected and bounced out the reach of Carpenter and the Bearcats regained the lead at 2-1. Despite a bunch of late chances, the Wildcats were not able to score again and the final score stayed 2-1.
“It was disappointing for sure,” senior captain Andrew Chaput said. “We could have put ourselves out in front of everyone in the conference, but, you know, on to the next one.”
The issues, according to Hubbard and Chaput, within the loss didn’t seem so much tactical as much as it was consistent effort from top to bottom.
“We weren’t tracking and we didn’t give 110 percent effort,” Chaput said. “We need to defend as a unit and we don’t defend as every single player.”
“Guys want to see a little bit more effort out there on the field from everyone,” Hubbard said. “We could all be a little bit more committed in things. Everyone needs to do everything they can.”
The Wildcats will head on the road to UMBC, a team the Wildcats have struggled with in past years. The game is scheduled for Saturday at 7 p.m.
Bearcats outbrawl Wildcats
By SAM DONNELLY