UNH Women’s Soccer: Heartbreaking Draw Against Maine


Joey Rizzi, Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.H. – It’s not about how you start, but about how you finish, and the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats women’s soccer team (4-5-1, 1-1-1) found that out the hard way. In a tightly contested game they couldn’t close the door on the UMaine Black Bears (6-2-3, 2-0-2) in what would’ve been a second consecutive conference victory.

A strong first half from the Wildcats gave promise that they could knock off a worthy foe with the rival Black Bears. Familiar face Meghan Guarente blasted home her fifth goal on the season in the second minute of action.

UNH certainly felt in good control of the game after 45 minutes of play, but the second half was a different story. Early in the second frame, central defender Maddie Kolb earned herself a red card that forced her strong presence out of the game. The Wildcats were forced to play the remaining 38:41 with 10 players. This led to an array of quality chances for the Black Bears that resulted in a late goal to tie the game at 1 apiece.

Once again, UNH goalkeeper Cat Sheppard played outstanding and was able to prevent a last-second goal opportunity by Maine, saving the tie. An acrobatic save in the 89th minute was nothing short of spectacular.

Still, though, head coach Steve Welham was upset with the final stretch of the game.

“It’s not a bad point at the end of the day, but it was something we felt that we were almost there and we could have gotten three points which is obviously important, every point is going to be big for conference play now”, said Welham.

The frustration was evident, but the result in the past. UNH will have to play next game without key defender Kolb by the rule of the NCAA.

“I mean, we’ve got a game plan that we’ll have another one of the players step in that spot and Maddie has a one-game suspension”, the head coach said.

The Wildcats have made numerous adjustments throughout the year, and so far, they’ve gotten better every game. This is only a small roadblock in a long and difficult season.

As far as offense goes, they’ve found a way to score at least once in each of their last four games. The UNH coaching staff is pleased with the way the offense has gelled with Guarente and Abbi Maier leading the charge.

“So we changed some personal personnel around in the same formation, and I think it paid some dividends and it was nice to see that, and things kind of clicked for us”, said Steve Welham.

Soccer is an unpredictable game that rewards the teams able to find consistency and make the proper adjustments. UNH has done that well to this point but will have to find consistency when it comes to the scoreboard. The Wildcats sit in 5th place in the America East and will need to stay in the top six to earn a spot in the conference tournament.

Despite the heartbreak of not picking up the win, UNH is looking forward will full confidence they can bounce back. Next up, they’ll face off against the Binghamton Bearcats (6-4-2, 3-0) in a tough road matchup. The Wildcats will hope to deliver the Bearcats their first conference loss of 2022 on Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of UNHWildcats.com