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UNH Men’s Soccer: Home Opener Success, First UNH Goals for Two of the ‘Cats

Taig Healy celebrating his first goal with Dominik Kurija. Courtesy of UNH men’s soccer.

DURHAM NH- The University of New Hampshire (UNH) men’s soccer team (1-0-1) has been welcomed back to Durham for the fall season. The Wildcats took on the Boston University (BU) men’s soccer team (1-1-0) for their season’s home opener. 

The ‘Cats home opener was a success after their season started off with an away game tie to the Virginia Commonwealth University men’s soccer team (0-1-1). 

The first half seemed like it was only going to consist of strong defense, yellow cards, and free kicks from the two teams but that quickly changed with just 10:34 minutes left in the half. 

Sophomore back Isaac Heffess passed the ball wide up the sidelines to sophomore midfielder/forward Taig Healy. From there, Healy dangled past a defender to score his first collegiate goal (34:26). 

Head Coach Marc Hubbard noticed the hometown love the New Hampshire native was getting from the crowd. 

“Him being a hometown guy and right down the road is really special to him because there’s a big contingent of people that come out and support him all the time,” said Hubbard.

Right when Healy scored the goal he went to reciprocate the feeling to the fans and found a familiar face in the stands. 

“It was a great feeling. Wildcat Stadium was pretty packed. I ran to the fans and found my dad in the crowd. That was a sweet feeling, just glad to help the team get their first win,” said Healy. 

Coach Hubbard felt positive about the way his team left the first half and the way they executed against the BU matchup. 

“I think we came out in the first half and created enough chances to be in the league going to halftime so felt pretty good there, especially given what their plan was and how they were playing and how we were playing against it,” said Coach Hubbard.

The score remained 1-0 for the first 22:21 minutes of the second half until BU graduate student Quinn Matulis struck back with a goal off of a free kick. 

However, the tied score did not phase the Wildcats, because less than 10 minutes later, at the 75th-minute mark of the game they took back their lead. 

Graduate student Liam Bennet sent the ball across the net to graduate student Georgios Koliniatis who finished the play off. 

That winning goal was the first in Koliniatis’ career with UNH, he scored a total of 25 goals in his four years at Rollins College. 

Coach Hubbard was pleased with the second half of play and the resilience of the team. 

“That second half felt like total control,” Hubbard noted, “Having a lot of possession and then obviously a little lapse there and kind of a tough one to give out their first shot basically of the game but happy of how we kind of kept to it and kept our heads and was able to get a second one.”

With a lot of new faces added to the squad, Coach Hubbard looks forward to witnessing the developments the team will make and the different contributions of each player. 

“I think this is a group that’s going to just keep improving. It’s 15 new guys from last year, 18 total really in their first preseason, so getting them all on the same page,” said Hubbard. “There’s some guys that haven’t played yet that we think will be factors and how do we work them into the group and how do you guys continue to figure out the system and what we want and how to be I guess consistent.”

The Wildcats will be back in action this Thursday, August 31st as they travel down to William and Mary (2-0-2) for a 1 p.m. afternoon match. 

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