The defending America East champion University of New Hampshire (UNH) men’s soccer team (1-0, 1-0) won their opening game this past weekend as they defeated UMass Lowell (0-1, 0-1) by a final of 2-1 in overtime.
The first half of the game was a stalemate as neither side was able to gain a real edge. UNH posted three shots on goal and UMass Lowell had two but neither team found the back of the net and the game sat at 0-0.
The first goal of the game didn’t come until the 66th minute and it was UNH who broke the seal. Senior back Victor Menudier got loose on a breakaway with a smooth pass from sophomore midfielder Rory O’Driscoll. Menudier sped past the River Hawk defense and ripped a shot by the goaltender, giving UNH the one-goal lead. This was the first goal for Menudier as a Wildcat.
UNH maintained this lead for most of the game and kept the River Hawks on their heels until 1:07 remained and the River Hawks tied it at 1-1. Senior midfielder Daniel Orrego snuck by the UNH defense and found some room to put it in the back of the net, pushing the game into overtime.
After controlling most of the game, UNH wasn’t about to let this one slip away. In the 95th minute senior Jacob Gould sent a beautiful pass through the defense and found the foot of O’Driscoll who was able to one-time the ball into the net for the game-winner. This was O’Driscoll’s second game-winning goal of his career.
UNH outshot UMass Lowell 18-6 with eight being on net for the ‘Cats compared to four by the River Hawks. Meanwhile, graduate student goalkeeper Alejandro Robles earned himself the win in this game totaling three saves. UNH coach Marc Hubbard now moves to 5-1 in season openers.
UNH will look to defend their home turf for the first time in 2021 when they host the Northeastern Huskies on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats did this effectively last season, holding a strong 9-0-1 record in Durham, and could see another season like that starting with this game against the Huskies. These two teams haven’t faced one another since 2018, so the rosters might look a little different for both sides. UNH currently holds the advantage in the matchup history ahead 4-1 and will try to improve that on March 6.
Photo courtesy of Bob Ellis.