The UNH women’s soccer team could not have asked for a better start to the America East conference campaign.
Four different Wildcats players recorded a goal in a dominating offensive performance, beating the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) by a 4-0 shutout victory. The win gave the Wildcats a 1-0 start in conference play, their third consecutive conference opening win.
“Our speed of play was positive, we created many chances. Our game plan was spot on in terms of trying to pull them out of position,” head coach Steve Welham said. “I think the big thing that prepared us for this game were the games before that too with Harvard and Northeastern.”
Sophomore forward Sydney Griffin scored her first career goal as a Wildcat when she buried a strike that rang off the post past goalkeeper Leah Roth to put the ‘Cats up 3-0. Freshman midfielder Liz Lane also scored, her second of the year off of an assist from leading goal-scorer Brooke Murphy in the offensive effort.
Lane notes that she and Murphy work well on the turf together, as chemistry has been built between the two.
“[Murphy] is an amazing player, it’s awesome working with her. Every time I pass her the ball I know she’s going to put it in the back of the net or pass it back to me,” Lane said. “It’s been exciting playing with her.”
Along with the assist to Lane’s goal. Murphy added her seventh goal of the season in the opening minutes of the first half to open the scoring for UNH. Following Murphy’s goal, the Wildcats spreaded the field well to give players quality scoring chances.
The fourth goal was a prime example of this. Veronica Hardy raced down the middle and found an open lane down the right side. She took a shot that rolled into the feet of Kelsey Davis on the doorstep for her to tap in for the final goal of the afternoon. As a result, the Wildcat emerged victorious against the Retrievers after losing to UMBC in last year’s matchup.
Towards the end of the game, UNH was able to substitute some fresh faces and give the young stars of the team a chance to show their skills.
“We wanted some energy, we always feel that no matter who goes into the game, at that level it will stay at a high level,” Welham said. “They did what they do all the time in training and had a chance to show themselves off today and they did a very good job.”
As the first conference win is in the books, the road stays competitive for the ‘Cats. UNH will play Binghamton University on Thursday Sept. 29, and last year’s 6-0 win is something Welham does not take for granted.
“We know that they are much improved from last year, they have a new coaching staff they’re going to be very difficult to break down,” Welham said. “We have to take the game to them, no question about it.”