The 2016 fall soccer season is still a few months away, but the Wildcats are already gearing up for competition.
After a great regular season, the UNH squad looks to repeat its success starting Friday, April 1. Head coach Marc Hubbard announced the spring season schedule which includes four games, two of which will be home.
The Wildcats will hit the field starting on Friday against Boston University, who reached the NCAA tournament last fall. The ‘Cats then will host Harvard a week later. The final home game of the spring schedule will feature fellow Granite State school Southern New Hampshire University. The spring season concludes at Boston College, a team that made it to the elite eight in the NCAA tournament in 2015.
There is no lack of competition in the Wildcats spring season. Boston University and Boston College both boast high caliber talent, as well as Harvard, who defeated UNH 1-0 last fall. Southern New Hampshire is a Division II power and only lost one game last season.
With a small team this spring, Coach Hubbard looks to improve the younger players as they gear up for larger roles in the fall.
“We’re really young, it’s their first real offseason,” Hubbard said. “We’re doing a lot of technical work.”
With a small roster and a young squad, Hubbard and his staff looked to “focus on the individual,” and get players ready for actual game situations. Hubbard mentioned that each player is working on things they need to improve on in practice. Whether it being defense, crosses, or passing, there is work to be done.
Even though UNH will be in a live game this spring, the results will not count and Hubbard passes that message to his team.
“We’re not concerned with results,” Hubbard said.
Because it’s the preseason, games will not go as smoothly as they would in a midseason atmosphere, but that doesn’t bother Hubbard. He expects the team to make mistakes and to learn from them.
The team has been in the weight room preparing itself for the upcoming competition. UNH looks to make some serious noise this offseason.
Last season, the Wildcats got off to a roaring start. The first eight games played showed that the Wildcats had a team that could do some damage because they had six wins and two ties. The team was undefeated in conference play during the first half of the season, and at the time, it seemed the America East title would be claimed by UNH.
In the last ten games of the season, the ‘Cats struggled. They finished with four wins, five losses, and one tie. UNH earned a fifth seed in the conference tournament and fell to UMBC in the first round of the America East playoffs.
Given the hot start from last season, and the potential to take down fierce competition this spring, the Wildcats are focused on becoming a conference powerhouse next fall.
The first home test this spring will be Friday April 8, at 7:30 p.m. against Harvard. The following Friday, UNH matches up with Southern New Hampshire at 7 p.m.