By TRISTEN BIANCO
Wednesday night’s matchup against the Vermont Catamounts concluded the regular season for the UNH men’s soccer team. The ‘Cats left Bremner Field with a 3-1 loss to UVM, ending their two-game win streak.
Junior captain Chris Wingate took the field, despite questions about whether or not he would play after injuring his ankle last week in a win over Hartford. His status was a game-time decision, but Wingate appeared to be functioning on all cylinders, recording 3 shots on the night.
15 minutes into the game, UVM netted its first goal. Vermont junior Brian Wright picked up the ball near midfield and drove into UNH territory, beating UNH goalkeeper Andrew Pesci.
UNH possessed the ball most of the first half but was unable to tie the game to end before the half ended. UNH recorded 4 shots in the first period of play, out-shooting the Catamounts, who only managed to take 2 shots. The Wildcats would continue to utilize an attacking offense for the rest of the game.
The Wildcats played most of the second half Vermont territory as well. Despite a second UVM goal in the 67th minute, the ‘Cats were relentless while trailing the visitors. They continued to attack the net and created a multitude of opportunities to score.
Finally, in the 78th minute, Chris Arling was able to put the home team on the board. Arling was the hero of last week’s double-overtime game, and recorded his fourth career goal on Wednesday. Assisted by a long through ball from Connor Pauley, Arling beat Vermont’s keeper one on one.
“He’s athletic,” UNH Coach Marc Hubbard said of the true freshman. “If you give him space to run at you and behind, he’s going to create some separation.”
Late in the game with UNH trailing 2-1, UNH continued to pour on the offensive pressure. The strategy put stress on the Catamounts’ defense, but the unit wouldn’t break. Vermont’s keeper was twice able to stop UNH on good shots, preserving the Catamount lead.
Vermont capitalized on its opportunities, once again taking advantage of a breakaway chance against the Wildcats’ defense. Vermont scored the game’s final goal in the 85th minute, sealing the win that gives them the No. 2 seed, and a first round bye, in the America East playoffs.
UNH recorded a total of 11 shots in the game, seven of which came in the second half. Despite the end score, the Catamounts could only muster four shots in the contest.
“We had a little bit of a lapse,” Hubbard said. “[Give] credit to Vermont; they didn’t have many chances in the game but they took advantage of them.”
The Wildcats finished with the season with a 10-4-3 overall record, as well as a 3-3-1 mark in conference play. The loss drops UNH to the No. 6 seed in the America East playoff bracket. The ‘Cats will travel to UMBC for the first round of the playoffs to take on the No. 3 Retrievers.
Regular season wrap up
By TRISTEN BIANCO