The UNH men’s soccer team is starting to show how dangerous they can be and is putting the American East Conference on notice.
On Saturday, the Wildcats bested Yale University 3-0, which put the Wildcats’ shutout streak at four consecutive games. The Wildcats improve to 8-1-0 with the victory, good for second in the America East Conference. It was another special night for sophomore forward Chris Arling as he put on a five-point performance.
The Windham, New Hampshire native scored two goals and earned one assist during the game. His 57:20 goal sealed the victory for the Wildcats as Arling headed in a rocket of a shot off a free kick from sophomore midfielder Alex Valencia.
The score put the Wildcats up 3-0 and put Arling’s season goal total at nine. His season total not only leads the team, but it also ranks Arling as second in the nation for total number of goals this season.
“To be honest, individual records don’t mean that much to me,” Arling said about his goal total. “I’m glad the team is doing well and looking good into conference play.”
The game also marked continuing steaks for two players. Freshman forward Jack Dickson opened up the stalling Wildcats attack by scoring the first goal of the game at 49:54.
Dickson finished the game with a goal and an assist, totaling three points. The English forward’s goal streak now extends to four consecutive games and puts his season total at five goals and two assists.
In Andrew Pesci’s fourth consecutive shutout victory, he faced a total of eight shots and saved one of them. While Pesci continues to be a wall in front of the net, Duff Thomson is showing why he is the captain and anchor that has helped keep Pesci’s streak alive.
During the first half, the senior defender split his lip open after a Yale defender knocked him in the mouth in midair while trying to head the ball. Thomson’s shirt was a crimson mess and he had to come off the pitch. Less than a minute later, Thomson came back on with a new shirt and a new number. He would stay on the pitch for the game’s remainder.
“He is the total heart of the team. He is the type of guy that will go to war with you. He has to pick everybody up by leading by example,” head coach Marc Hubbard said of his captain. “To a fault, he will run through a brick wall for you. He is definitely a guy you want to have on your side.”
Thomson’s toughness and defending was much needed in a frustrating first half of the game. The ‘Cats’ offense stalled, only putting up one shot the entire first half. The defense was getting tested as Yale broke into the box and got five shots off.
Once the second half whistle sounded, UNH did a complete turn around and scored all three goals in just over 10 minutes into the half. By the end, the Wildcats had three goals on seven shots and held Yale to eight shots en route to a shutout.
“Overall, I thought we played decently in the second half. Got off to a slow start but we were able to get out of it,” Arling said about his and the team’s performance. “We were able to get at [Yale] with a couple quick goals in the second half and it was game over after that,” he said.
The Wildcats finish their three-game home stand on Friday, Sept. 30 against UMBC at 7 p.m. It is the first game of the America East Conference portion of the schedule.
For in-game updates on UNH men’s soccer, follow Daniel on Twitter @DanielEliasNH.