Last Saturday, the #14 UNH Men’s Soccer team (11-0-2, 4-0) traveled to Lowell, Massachusetts to take on the UMass Lowell River Hawks (7-4-1, 2-2). UNH came away with their tenth win of the season and their fourth straight shutout, winning 4-0.
The Wildcats scored four goals in the game. Two of the four came from junior defenseman Josh Bauer, his second and third goals of the year; the others came from senior forward Donnett Sackie and first-year midfielder Rory O’Driscoll, as both recorded their third goal of the year. Antonio Colacci had four assists on the day, tying an America East Conference game record.
On Tuesday, the Wildcats played in Cambridge, Mass. against Harvard. Again, UNH scored four goals in a 4-0 shutout win for their fifth straight shutout. This time, Colacci was on the scoring side of the scoresheet as opposed to the assisting side. Colacci’s goal in the 51st minute was his fifth of the year, increasing his point total to 17. The other three goals were scored by graduate midfielder Fabian Lutz, junior midfielder Linus Falberg and senior forward Brandon Garland.
Outside of the goal scorers, the Wildcat defense has been suffocating teams this season. Head coach Mark Hubbard said of his defense, “Every year it’s important to us, the last couple years we’ve been fifth and sixth in the nation in goals-against so it has just become a fabric of our program and what we build our success off of.”
Now UNH is undefeated with two ties at this point in the season, and that is in large part to a balanced offensive attack and one of the nation’s best defenses. Hubbard commented on the Wildcats’ undefeated record and where his team’s heads are at right now:
“That’s something we’re not really talking about right now, as cliché as it sounds, just focus on the next one and if we do a good job with that, the rest will take care of itself.”
Hubbard insists that there is any pressure added to his team due to the undefeated record. “I don’t think there’s any added pressure of the undefeated season, I think it’s more when you play someone, we talk about how this game means a lot more to them, so they’re going to be a lot more motivated.”
Hubbard and his team are in a great spot and has a great mindset, nevertheless the undefeated season will loom over their last three games of the 2019 season. They will have a home game, an away game and one more home game after that against Hartford, Albany, and Vermont successively. Coincidentally, these three teams make up the three teams directly under UNH in the America East Conference standings. Each team has only lost one in-conference game and will certainly be looking to give UNH their first loss.
Hubbard believes that facing these tougher opponents to end the season will be a challenge.
“It raises our level of training before the games… Having two games at home is nice, we understand that going down to Albany and playing Albany is going to be a really difficult game but these are the types of experiences you want before you get into postseason play.”
The next game is this Saturday at 7 p.m. when the Wildcats welcome Hartford into the dangerous Wildcat Stadium for senior night. Hartford (8-3-4, 2-1-1) will pose a real threat to UNH as the Wildcats try to keep their winning streak and shutout streak alive.