UNH Men’s Soccer: Eli Goldman Sizzling as Wildcats win 6th Straight Match

Evan Mullings, Sports Writer

All it took for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) men’s soccer team was a little bit of momentum. After opening the season with two consecutive losses at the hands of Maryland and Boston University, there was some concern as to whether this team could capitalize on their opportunities. Well, the ball is now rolling. The Wildcats have won six consecutive matches and eight out of their last nine after Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory vs. the Northeastern Huskies. Their six-game winning streak has featured defeats of UC Irvine, Bryant, Harvard, UMBC, NJIT, and now the Huskies. 

Head Coach Marc Hubbard has been most impressed with the contributions up-and-down the lineup, “We’re playing so many different guys, we haven’t found our total rhythm yet but we’re still getting the job done.” 

One of the common themes all season long for UNH has been their dominance in time-of-possession, corner kicks, and shots. Another key piece to the Wildcats’ success of late has been junior forward, Eli Goldman. Tuesday’s match against Northeastern was no different. 

Goldman now leads the team in goals with four, and all four goals have come in as many games, including two game-winners. Tuesday’s goal epitomized the confidence he’s playing with right now. 

In the second half of Tuesday’s game, Bilal Kamal lofted a beautiful corner into the box that found Goldman. He was able to put a shot on goal despite being turned around and after a beautiful stop from Huskies goaltender Colby Hegarty, Goldman stuck with it. He was able to spin and outhustle the crowd in front of the net to the ball and once he got there, was able to make an excellent chip shot upstairs and into the back of the net. The goal stood as the winner.

 “He’s been great. That’s the type of goal that’s just effort, sacrificing your body, and being in the right place at the right time, that’s definitely him. I’m happy for him, it’s really a huge goal and I’m happy to have him scoring,” Marc Hubbard said. 

Despite the win, it was another match in which the Wildcats had to battle in the second half to get the go-ahead goal to avoid a tie. Every win is ever so important as the Wildcats look to return to the Top 25. Six wins in a row is a fantastic feat but one slip-up for the ‘Cats and they become a four-loss team. Goldman’s contributions have been especially important given that Tola Showunmi and Johann von Knebel are still without a goal on the season.

In addition to Goldman, UNH was able to get an offensive contribution from another unlikely source on Tuesday as Jamie Davis opened the scoring with a highlight reel goal. Davis ambushed the Northeastern zone, zigzagging through Northeastern defenders. He then lifted a short ball to the right of the goal and left some spin on it pushing it back the other way on a hop past Hegarty. It was one of the prettiest goals of the season for the Wildcats. 

Hubbard was thrilled with Jamie’s effort on the play, “That’s the composure that we’ve been needing inside the box. We obviously get the ball into the box a ton, but we just need guys to have composure in those moments.” 

A controversial handball call against Yannick Bright did give the Huskies some life late in the first half. Federico Tellez made no mistake to capitalize on the PK at the time to knot the game at one, but the call could’ve easily gone the other way. 

Coach Hubbard was very excited with his team’s first-half performance but touched on the emotional roller coaster after the penalty, “I thought our first half we played really well. Unfortunate PK call gave them a bit of unneeded confidence because we had been playing so well.” He went on to add that his team could have better toned down Northeastern’s urgency down the stretch.   

Coming up next is a road tilt in Albany tonight at 7:00 PM against the Great Danes as Eli Goldman and the ‘Cats look to keep the good times rolling. The clock keeps on ticking to the big game against #12 Vermont on October 28th. Don’t forget, UNH was previously ranked ahead of Vermont coming into the season. Until then, the Wildcats must take care of business.