After losing in the 2015 America East quarterfinals to the University of the Pacific, the UNH field hockey team recognizes a championship is the ultimate goal. Regardless of losing six highly-talented seniors last year, the 2016 team boasts a skilled roster. From the new players to seasoned veterans, the understanding of a quarterfinal exit in a tournament that they have previously done well in is not acceptable. Senior captain Lindsey Nerbonne, who brought home Fan’s Choice Player of the Year last year, is a strong player that can bring UNH back into title contention.
“We want to win a championship this season and are trying to bring that culture every day to practice,” Nerbonne said.
After a year where she tallied 12 goals and registered 4.47 shots per game in 19 games started, she knows her role as a veteran leader, but she has taken particular notice of the talented freshmen that have been putting in the work during preseason practices.
“The freshmen are looking great too, working really hard and taking everything in,” she said.
With Robin Balducci at the helm for her 25th year, the Wildcats will start the season with the annual Wildcat Classic at Memorial Field on August 26-28. Then a week later on Sept. 2 they open the 2016 campaign against Drexel University.
Nerbonne is looking to end on a high note for her final year.
“The team is looking really good. We have a ton of energy and really focused goals. I want to leave everything I have out there for my final year and enjoy the time I have,” she said.
Notable upcoming games include:-Defending America East champion Albany Great Danes will come to town on September 30.
-All ‘Cats Wear Pink Game against arch rival Maine on October 6.
Three straight America East battles versus Vermont, UMass Lowell, and Maine, October 16-23.
Ben Nawn Staff Writer
After a disappointing 7-5 2015 campaign, the UNH football team looks to build itself back into FCS title contention much like it was the years prior. The Wildcats return most of their starting offense, the large exception being the loss of quarterback Sean Goldrich. Senior captain Adam Riese and redshirt sophomore Trevor Knight are the two quarterbacks currently vying for the reigns to the offense. Riese started three games last season in Goldrich’s absence, accumulating 513 yards passing, six touchdowns and a 68.5 completion percentage. Knight was able to display his dual-threat abilities at times last season tallying 124 yards passing on 19 attempts, 100 yards rushing and two total touchdowns. Either way, the Wildcats will have a guy that has already been in big game moments, or “hot water,” as head coach Sean McDonnell expressed.
UNH returns with a lot of talent surrounding the quarterback position. Senior running back Dalton Crossan returns after totaling 1,708 all-purpose yards last fall. All-CAA senior tight end Jordan Powell will return after the first six games due to a suspension for a violation of team and university policy. Albeit a setback, Powell looks to be a large factor in the Wildcats’ offense once he returns in mid-October against James Madison University. At the wide receiver position, senior Kyon Taylor will attempt to build on a strong junior season where he had 358 receiving yards on 31 receptions in just six games.
On the defensive side of the ball, All-CAA senior cornerback Casey DeAndrade, and his fellow senior captain linebacker Ryan Farrell will lead the charge for the ‘Cats’ defense. After allowing just under 200 rushing yards per game last season, UNH will look for guys to step up in the middle of the defense alongside Farrell. The Wildcats begin their season Sept. 3 at San Diego State University, before returning home for the highly anticipated debut in their new home, Wildcat Stadium, Sept. 10 against Holy Cross.
Zack Holler Sports Editor
Both the men and women’s cross country teams have been putting in the miles this summer in order to prepare for the upcoming season. Both teams start off the 2016 season with a home meet on Saturday, Sept. 3 at the UNH field house. The tri meet will consist of Providence college and Holy Cross and start with the women running at 10:45 a.m., and the men following at 11:45 a.m.
The women’s team will look to defend their 2015 America East title this season. Last year, the ‘Cats finished with three runners in the top-7 of the America East Conference Championship meet. After losing senior Laura Rose Donegan for this fall due to eligibility, the women will look for others to step up to the plate and fill the void. Some runners to keep an eye on are Amanda Symanski, Sarah Keiran and Shannon Murdock. The three placed 19th, 20th and 23rd respectively at last year’s America East Championship, with room to improve. Both women’s track and field and cross-country teams have been very strong over the past few years so this should be a great season to watch.
As for the men’s team, a seventh place finish in the conference last season gives them plenty of room for improvement, and that is definitely possible with the amount of experience the younger team was able to gather last year. With only two seniors last season, much of the weight fell on the underclassmen, and now they can take that experience and apply it to the season this fall. The team’s lead man, Sam Gagnon, placed 13th in the division last year and has since graduated. The next three finishers for the ‘Cats were Mitchell Dutton, Timothy Kenefick and Ryan Chiesa, all of whom should be returning this year. Many athletes will be making the transition from the track oval to the cross-country courses this fall as they look to maintain their success from last spring. Along with the returners, some new names will look to make their presence felt early. Be sure to be there Sept. 3 as the ‘Cats hope to kick off their season with a bang.
Ryan Pagliaro Staff writer
There are high hopes for the UNH Wildcats men’s soccer team coming into this season. However, there are numerous questions as well. The team came off of a good season last year, coming in fourth place in the American East conference with a 10-5-3 overall record. The ‘Cats started off the 2015 campaign strong going 7-0-2 in their first nine games, but the final second half of the season saw the ‘Cats finish 3-5-1 with a first round loss in the America East playoffs. Overall, the ‘Cats posted solid stats as a team, having a plus nine goal differential, scoring 28 while allowing 19. Their presence was felt in the passing game as the team tallied up 21 assists. The Wildcats could be dangerous as they are currently ranked fourth in America East preseason polls. However, that expectation carries a lot more weight with the amount of new faces that have joined the team.
Fourteen incoming student-athletes are listed as new arrivals for the Wildcats, seven of which are true freshmen. Chemistry might become a problem but there are a few that could make the transition easier. Senior Chris Wingate and sophomore Chris Arling, will look to continue their good form from last season and carry the load offensively, now that Fazel Nabi is gone. Senior Duff Thomson, who was one of the team leaders in minutes played, could help lead the back four as being the most experienced. Thomson played and started all 18 games last season. One freshman to look out for this season is Jack Dickson. Dickson comes from England and played for Bournemouth FC from 2007-13. Although he is listed as back, he is said to play multiple positions and can potentially fill some holes. Look for his name on the starting sheet more often once the season is under way.
Daniel Clare Staff writer
The UNH women’s soccer team is gearing up for another competitive season. Ranked fourth in the America East preseason poll, the Wildcats are looking to once again establish themselves as one of the top teams in the America East conference.
With Caroline Murray now gone, the success of the upcoming season will ride heavily on the veteran presence of standout junior forward Brooke Murphy and senior goalkeeper Mimi Borkan. Murphy led the team in both points and goals last year, earning her a spot on the America East All-Conference First Team. Borkan was the anchor on the defensive end, notching four shutouts while starting all 19 games.
Along with the returning roster, head coach Steve Welham and his staff welcomed nine freshmen to the squad this August. A strong balance between midfielders and backs provide an opportunity for the ‘Cats to grow with the addition of young talent.
After a tough loss in the first round of the America East playoffs to the Maine Black Bears in penalty kicks, UNH will look to avenge its early exit of last season and make a legitimate run at the America East crown. It won’t be easy however, as the second half of the season features key matchups against conference opponents Hartford, Albany and Maine, all of which are ranked above UNH in the preseason poll.
With the season already underway, the ‘Cats next opponent will be the Manhattan College Jaspers as part of the TD Bank Classic this coming weekend in Burlington, Vermont.
Brian Dunn Sports Editor
As the 2016 season approaches, the UNH women’s volleyball squad has one thing on their mind: repeat, again. For the third straight year, the Wildcats will begin their season as defending America East champions and try to compete for their fourth straight America East championship. Seniors Keelin Severston and Demi Muses will look to lead the team with their experience as they hope to capture a conference crown in all four years at UNH. In a unique circumstance, Sara Carlson will also join the fold for the volleyball squad in her final semester of NCAA eligibility. She spent the last four years playing under head coach Hilary Witt on the UNH women’s hockey team. The volleyball season starts in Anapolis, Maryland on Friday, August 26 as UNH gets set to take on the United States Naval Academy. The Wildcats start their home campaign August 29 against Fresno State.
Sam Rogers Staff writer