Last time we saw the University of New Hampshire (UNH) men’s soccer team they had just lost a heartbreaker to Virginia Tech in the second round of the 2019 NCAA tournament after beating Fairleigh Dickinson (FDU) in the first round. This was only their fourth ever appearance in the NCAA tournament.
The Wildcats had their best season in program history in 2019 with a regular season record of 14-1-3 along with winning their second straight America East title. This was a historic season as they tied the 1994 team after their win over FDU with 15 wins. They also marked the best winning percentage in school history winning at a .868 clip.
The 2019 Wildcats were one of the best defensive teams in the nation only allowing seven goals all season and tallying an impressive 13 shutouts. They ranked first in the nation with a .0353 goals against average and a big part of that came from their graduate student goaltender Alejandro Robles who is returning for another season with the Wildcats.
Now after missing their usual season in the fall due to COVID-19 the two-time defending America East champs open up the season as the poll leaders in the America East conference. UNH tallied seven first place votes from the coaches. Vermont came in second place in the poll with UAlbany coming in third with two first place votes.
UNH has a roster full of returning players and should be on the same trajectory as the past two seasons. By being at the top of the poll there are expectations for them to remain at the top and win the America East for the third straight season. There should be a large target on the Wildcats’ backs, and they should expect to get everyone’s best effort.
The Wildcats will be without their three top goal scorers from a season ago in Antonio Colacci, Fabian Lutz and Josh Bauer, however. The trio combined for 15 UNH goals and 48 total points. UNH did add three new athletes to the roster for the spring 2021 season. The additions are headlined by graduate student Bridger Hansen. Hansen formerly played for Westminster College in 2018 and was named a captain in 2019. During his time there he posted seven goals and one assist. Along with Hansen the team also added sophomore goalkeeper Jassem Koleilat and first-year forward Bruno Piva de Castro.
UNH will kick off their long-awaited season on Friday, Feb. 26. against the UMass Lowell Riverhawks in Lowell. The team is currently set to host their first game a week later on March 5 against the Northeastern Huskies; the same day UNH football will kick off their spring season.
Photo courtesy of Megan Murphy.