UNH women’s soccer head coach Steve Welham addressed in a previously written article of The New Hampshire that one or two special moments in the playoffs can change the course of a game. Whether good or bad, in the Wildcats’ case both, Welham’s statement rings true.
In Thursday night’s America East quarterfinal matchup vs. the University of Maine, senior midfielder Lilly Radack scored her first collegiate goal, and the only goal to seal a 1-0 victory for the Wildcats over the Black Bears, the first time the Wildcats have beaten Maine since 2011.
The following Sunday, UNH was on the wrong end of a controversial finish in the America East semifinal game vs. the University at Albany. A last-second corner kick goal opportunity was negated due to time expiring, and UNH was eliminated from the playoffs with a 1-0 loss to the Great Danes. The Wildcats end their season with a 7-9-3 overall record and an America East semifinal finish.
“As a staff we are extremely proud of this team and what we have accomplished together,” Welham said. “[We took] the defending champion and current league champion down to the last second. It wasn’t ourselves or the opposition that held us back today, it was just time.”
At 33:30 in the first half, Kiana Rugar gave the Great Danes a 1-0 advantage off of a breakaway chance. The Wildcats pressured in the second half, which included seven corner kicks to try and even the score. The ‘Cats’ corner kick in the final 10 seconds looked to be a goal, but time was not on the Wildcats’ side and it was deemed no goal.
Thursday’s quarterfinal match was a redemption victory over a long-time troubling opponent for UNH in Maine. Radack’s goal was her first collegiate point as well, a moment that was 62 games in the making.
“She picked one hell of a time to get [the goal],” Welham said. “That’s the beauty of being a team, you never know who’s going to pop up and get something for you. That was well done by [Radack].”
After going up 1-0 at 15:28, the Wildcats held down Bremner Field and fought off the Black Bear attack. Kendra Prince, Caroline Wysocki and Megan Rumbold were all key contributors in a lock-up defensive effort from UNH. Maine was able to muster only three shots total. Mimi Borkan was required to make one save, a game-saving stop for that matter.
With around six minutes to go in the game leading 1-0, goalkeeper Mimi Borkan made a leaping one-handed save to prevent the ball from catching the top of the net, and saving the lead for the Wildcats. Borkan stopped the Black Bears’ best chance and the Wildcats held on for the playoff victory.
“Every single person on the team made a difference in [Thursday’s game],” Radack said. “Whether they were on the bench screaming for us or on the field everybody gave it 100 percent and I had no doubt we were going to win this game.”
On Sunday, the Wildcats were on the wrong end of a 1-0 score, falling to the Albany Great Danes for the second time this season. However, through the shining moment of Radack’s goal and the crucial stops from Borkan, the two senior captains finished the season strong. Welham appreciates the work they have done for the program.
“Both senior captains [Radack and Borkan] played extremely well and led us as well as any of the top leaders I have worked with,” Welham said. “We are grateful to [the seniors] as they have helped establish our program as one of the top teams in the con