It seems that Dartmouth College has UNH’s number when it comes to men’s sports this year: both football and fùtbol.
The newly minted 25th ranked Wildcats traveled an hour and 45 minutes west to Hanover, New Hampshire to face their Granite State foe Dartmouth College on Wednesday night. It was not the Wildcats’ night, however, as they fell to Dartmouth 1-0, who were 1-2-5 going into the match against the Wildcats.
The loss came when the defensive battle finally gave way. At 70:31 Dartmouth’s Justin Donawa was able to break through the UNH defense and tuck the ball into the back of the net for the late score.
As a result of Wednesday’s game, UNH’s five consecutive wins streak ended. It was the team’s first loss since Sept. 9 when they lost 3-1 at the hands of Holy Cross. The five consecutive shutout streak by goalkeeper Andrew Pesci also came to an end. Pesci had made saves on all 26 shots he faced and left opponents scoreless for 483:57 of play.
The usually potent Wildcat attack stalled out and its scorers were contained during the game as the defeat also marked the first time this season that UNH had been shutout offensively.
“There were five or six guys that did not play to what they were capable of. As a team, we were a little disjointed,” head coach Marc Hubbard said about the loss. “[Dartmouth] wanted it more. They worked hard defensively and put in a stronger effort.”
Sophomore forward Chris Arling was held in check by Dartmouth as he was unable to shoot in a high volume as he typically does. Arling shot three times with one on goal. The closest chance Arling and UNH were given came at 20:26.
Arling got the first shot on goal of the game as he ripped one on net, but Dartmouth keeper James Hickok saved the attempt.
UNH’s second leading scorer, Jack Dickson, struggled as well as he registered only one shot for the game.
On the defensive side of the pitch, Andrew Pesci had a good game despite the game-winning goal he let through. Pesci faced 10 shots, saved four, which maintained the deadlocked score for 70 minutes of the game.
On a frustrating night for the Wildcats, they created many opportunities to score but failed to capitalize of the chances they were given. In the first half, UNH out shot Dartmouth seven to four. UNH earned four corner kicks on the night, while Dartmouth earned only one.
In the second half, the offense stalled as they only managed to get three more shots off with none making it to the Dartmouth goalkeeper.
The solid back four of the UNH defense finally broke after it allowed Dartmouth to shoot six additional shots with four on target and one going through. Dartmouth was able to put pressure on the UNH defense that had not faced such pressure in the past five games.
“I think we are going to have to play more consistent with our performances this year. We’ve done some really good things this year. However, we’ve had some performances where we haven’t done enough,” Hubbard said about how the team can prevent similar performances from happening again. “Its [going to be] a really quick turn around and Stony Brook has had only a week off. We are going to get our feet underneath us and be prepared to fight for [the win] on Saturday.
UNH remains on the road when they will travel to Stony Brook University on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.