The good news is that as a result of the scores around the America East conference this weekend, the Wildcats have secured the No. 4 seed in the conference standings and will host a home playoff game. However, they will not be coming into that contest with the momentum they would have liked to have.
On senior night, Thursday, Oct. 20, a UNH comeback fell a goal short against top-conference opponent Stony Brook, falling to the Seawolves by a 3-2 final score. On Sunday, the last game of the regular season, the Wildcats relinquished a 1-0 lead to fall to the UMass Lowell River Hawks 2-1. UNH finishes the season 6-8-3 overall and 3-4-1 in America East heading into playoffs starting on Thursday.
In the match vs. Stony Brook, UNH maintained a steady first half of play, but fell apart in the second. Goals from Julie Johnstonbaugh, Lea Kalbach and Maneula Corcho put the Wildcats in a 3-0 hole at the 73:26 mark of the second half. But the Wildcats would not go quietly. Kaylan Williams secured her first goal of the season at 75:04 to make it a 3-1 game. Continuing to apply the offensive pressure, Brooke Murphy was given a penalty kick opportunity. She buried one past goalkeeper Cara Gallagher to bring the Wildcats to within one with eight minutes left to play. The Wildcats could not reach the tying mark, as the game ended 3-2.
“In the end, they gave it everything they had, so we’re proud of that,” head coach Steve Welham said, admiring his team’s ability to fight back. “We got to turn this thing around, and that’s it.”
“I think we just dug deep and we never give up in any game and it was just a slap in the face,” senior midfielder Lilly Radack said. “Props to our team to come back and take it to them.”
In the regular season finale on Sunday, the Wildcats jumped out to a 1-0 lead, courtesy of Murphy, her 11th goal of the season at 36:11. The Wildcats were outshot 16-7 in the contest, and eventually Katelyn Viera did enough damage to secure the come-from-behind 2-1 victory for the River Hawks. She scored twice, one at 48:49 and one with four minutes left in regulation to hand the Wildcats their second consecutive loss.
Thursday’s match was senior night, as four seniors; Radack, Caitlin Bucksbaum, Kelsey Pratt and Mimi Borkan were all honored before the game. Radack admitted that it is tough for her to believe that this will be her final season as a Wildcat.
“[It’s] definitely surreal, still feel like a freshman in most regards,” she said. “It’s scary thinking that [Thursday’s matchup vs. Stony Brook] could be our last game, but I don’t think it will be.
Radack was right, the Wildcats now look to the playoffs as they host Maine this Thursday at Bremner Field. It will be a rematch of last year’s America East quarterfinal, in which the Wildcats fell to the Black Bears in penalty kicks at Orono, Maine on Oct. 29, 2015. This year in the regular season, UNH fell to Maine in overtime 1-0.
For more on UNH women’s soccer, visit unhwildcats.com.

Executive Editor