It’s a narrative the Wildcats have seen before: another late game, another late-goal loss and another heartbreak.
The UNH men’s soccer team faced the Harvard University Crimson Tuesday night in the final regular season home game for the Wildcats. However, the ‘Cats did not end on a high note as they fell to Harvard 2-1 in double overtime.
With roughly five minutes left in double overtime, Harvard got a corner kick. Sam Brown curled the ball into the UNH penalty box where Eric Gylling rose above the UNH defense and headed the ball past goalkeeper Andrew Pesci for the game-winning goal. The play and the finish were eerily similar to the last-second loss to the University at Albany on Oct. 12.
Despite the crushing loss, the co-captain showed during the game why he wears an armband. Wingate played all 105:30 of the game, despite a casted right hand and bandaged right knee. He finished the game with a goal on four shots with two reaching target.
“I just really want [to] win, especially for the boys because we worked so hard this season,” Wingate said to what drives him to play through his injuries. “I think we can do great things, but we can’t keep losing like this. We have to sharpen things up and get the wins in the next two weeks.”
In spite of the score line, Pesci had a good game. He held the Crimson scoreless in the first half and had a few huge saves in the second half that prevented Harvard from expanding its scoreline further. He finished the game with four saves after facing 10 shots from Harvard with two going in.
After a scoreless, defensive-heavy first half, Harvard got on the board with a goal at 58:27 in the second half. In similar fashion to the goal at the end of the game, the score came by way off a corner kick via Brown. Daniel Smith rose above the UNH defense and headed the ball into the back of the net. The score gave Harvard a 1-0 lead over the Wildcats.
After exactly 4:16, the ‘Cats knotted up the score at 1-1. Lalaina Randriamanantena carried the ball down the right side of the pitch and passed it to Wingate just inside the box.
Wingate corralled the ball as Harvard defenders began to swarm in. He fired a shot that beat Harvard keeper Kyle Parks to his right and into the net. Randriamanantena earned his first assist of the season while Wingate earned his fourth goal of the season. Then in overtime, at 105:34, Harvard scored the game-winning goal to earn them the win.
The result improves out-of-conference Harvard to 9-3-2 for the season. As for UNH, the loss drops the Wildcats to 11-5-0 for the season and 2-3-0 in their last five games compared to 4-1-0 in their first five. Head coach Marc Hubbard was upset after the loss as he offered a few words to how the team could prevent similar losses again.
“We are going to prepare like we do for every game,” Hubbard said. “We’re going to scout the team and get our guys healthy.”
UNH is on the road for the final two games of the season. On Saturday, Oct. 29, they play at the University of Hartford at 7 p.m. and wrap up the regular season on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at the University of Vermont at 7 p.m.