On Halloween weekend, the Wildcats displayed their tendency to create early game thrills and late game scares.
On Saturday, the UNH men’s soccer team traveled down to Connecticut to face America East opponent University of Hartford in the second to last game of the season for the Wildcats. UNH was able to take a 2-1 victory over the Hawks as a brace from sophomore forward Chris Arling helped improve the team’s record to 12-5-0 (4-2-0 in America East), good for second in the conference. The loss drops Hartford to 7-8-3 (2-2-2) for the season.
After a defeat at the hands of Harvard on Oct. 25, the Wildcats needed a win to not only improve their record, but also their morale.
Arling was the player to do just that as he scored both of the team’s goals, increasing his goal total to 14 for the season. However, late in the game the momentum began to switch similar to the Albany and Harvard games.
At 46:06, the Wildcats went up 2-0 over the Hawks as Arling scored his second goal of the game. The ever-reliable co-captain Chris Wingate set up the play for Arling. Wingate charged through the Hartford defense and saw Arling deep in the box. Wingate then threaded the ball to Arling who tucked it into the net.
The goal ties Arling for third in the nation in goals. Wingate, the team’s facilitator, was credited with the assist, which puts his season total at eight. But at 66:36, Hartford stuck back.
Hartford’s Kelechi Akujobi cut the deficit to one as he scored his first goal of the season. Quinton Swift sent a cross into the box that Akujobi headed into the net. That put the Hawks on the board and made the score 2-1. Luckily, UNH was able to hold off any optional breakdown and held onto the lead. As UNH secured the victory at the end of the game, they also secured an early lead at the beginning.
Three minutes into the game, Arling got the Wildcats on the board first. Sophomore forward/midfielder Kristian Piippo cut through the defense and laced a pass into the middle of the box. Arling made a smart run past the Hartford defenders and then ripped a shot past Hartford keeper Jimmy Slayton.
That put the Wildcats up early 1-0. The goal marked Arling’s 13th of the season. Piippo was credited with the assist, which marks his first of the season.
UNH will be on the road for their final game of the regular season as they travel to Burlington to face the University of Vermont on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m.