For the first time since August 19, the Wildcats women’s soccer team will play a home game at Bremner Field.
The ‘Cats get set to host Harvard University tonight at seven. A familiar foe, the Crimson hold the advantage in the all-time series by way of 20-3. In the last meeting between these two teams on Sept. 17, the Crimson edged the Wildcats in an overtime battle by a final score of 2-1. Junior forward Brooke Murphy recorded an assist in the matchup.
Having lost to Harvard now for two consecutive years, UNH and head coach Steve Welham feel well prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.
“[The Crimson] are a talented team that plays good soccer, we feel that we could potentially match up well, and play a good game overall of soccer,” Welham said.
The majority of the focus will be on the Crimson’s star forward, senior Margaret Purce. Purce leads the team in points with 11, tallying five goals and one assist in six games played this season. She also was involved in the scoring that led to the 2-1 overtime victory in last year’s matchup. Welham notes that shutting down Purce will be a huge factor in their efforts to start a winning streak tonight.
“She’s a legitimate player, she’s a threat [one on one] off the dribble, she’s their most attacking-minded player,” Welham said. “We have to key on her, we have to take her and nullify her in the game.”
Over on the Wildcats side of the ball, UNH has an offensive powerhouse in its own with Murphy. Recently named America East Player of the Week, Murphy has been a constant for the UNH attack. Standing at a team-leading nine points and four goals, Murphy poses the biggest offensive threat to Harvard as she now has two multi-goal games to show for us. Look for Purce and Murphy to be the key players in tonight’s contest.
Now that the ‘Cats are home at Bremner, a faster pace of play can be expected. Welham explains that while on the road, some games were played on grass and the turf that Bremner provides plays more to the ‘Cats’ style.
“Bremner is going to play faster,” Welham said. “It’s a fast game which helps us. We are definitely a technically oriented team that likes to move the ball quickly on the ground, thats going to help us.”
Harvard is one of two non-conference opponents left for UNH before they gear up for America East plays starting Sept. 25. The team wants to build positive momentum going into the more crucial part of the schedule, while playing some tougher competition than what they are accustomed to facing.
“Playing these games, it is to set us up for conference play, so we are legitamately playing some of the top teams in the region and in the country,” Welham said. “We want to [be able to] go into America East conference and really take it to teams. We want to dominate the conference.”
If you can’t be there, tune into americaeast.tv to see the UNH women’s soccer team try for two straight wins tonight with a battle against the Harvard Crimson at 7 p.m.