The Wildcats learned that the difference between a win and a loss can be a matter of a few seconds.
On Wednesday, UNH battled the University at Albany, an America East foe. The Wildcats lost 2-1 in heartbreaking fashion, marking UNH’s third consecutive defeat.
Albany scored the game-winning goal with six seconds left on the clock. The goal was scored by Nico Solabarrieta, who corralled the ball off a corner and beat goalkeeper Andrew Pesci.
The Albany players then proceeded to run the length of the UNH sideline and celebrate in front of the visibly upset UNH players and coaching staff. Albany did not stop until they reached their own bench.
“[In the postgame huddle] we talked about how we need to be bigger people and things like that happen in life too,” coach Marc Hubbard said of how he and his team will rebound from the tough loss. “We got to pick our heads up, come to work the next day and continue to do the good things we’ve done so far.”
As quickly as the Wildcats lost, the team did the same when gaining the lead. A mere 54 seconds into the game, sophomore forward Chris Arling scored off a rebound and was able to beat Albany goalkeeper Danny Vitiello for the score.
The goal put UNH up early 1-0 over the Great Danes. The score also marked the 11th of the season for Arling, which leads the team. Freshman forward Jack Dickson was credited with the assist, his third of the season.
From then on, UNH was able to hold off Albany’s offense on multiple occasions. Andrew Pesci kept Albany at bay for most of the game, as he was able to save six of the 16 shots, with two going in. Even though Pesci was strong for 82:13 of the game, the seal finally broke in the closing minutes.
At 83:24, the Great Danes were able to beat Pesci and the defense for the game-tying goal. After finding the loose ball 12 yards out from the goal, Albany’s Keith Traut fired a shot to the right side of the net that made its way past Pesci. The score was then tied at one a piece.
Overall, it was a tough and frustrating loss for the team. Most of the players took many hard tackles and according to Hubbard, the officiating was tough as well.
“Both teams were fighting over the 50/50 situations. The refereeing was a little inconsistent early on, which made [game planning] hard to read,” Hubbard said on the physical play of the game. “Coming off of two losses, getting a win here was an important one to get,” he said, admitting the importance of the game.
Sophomore midfielder Alex Valencia took a hard foul at midfield early in the game. Valencia had to be helped off the field and would not return.
Senior midfielder Chris Wingate took a hard foul when an Albany defender tackled, spikes up into the back of Wingate’s leg. No card was given for the tackle. The battered co-captain, with a cast on his right arm, had to be helped off the field as well. Living up to the responsibility of the co-captain title, Wingate would return several minutes later. The Wildcats finished the game with 13 shots with eight on target. Despite the loss, Wingate expressed optimism.
“Albany’s player was able to break through and was in the right spot. I don’t really know what happened. It just happened so fast,” Wingate said about the late goal and the loss. “I think we worked hard. But in the end, sometimes in soccer [the ball] doesn’t bounce your way. You have to try to stay positive and to look forward to the next game.”
UNH hits the road next as they travel to New York to face off against Binghamton University for a tilt on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m.