Back on track: Soccer rebounds from first loss with win at home against Stony Brook

Bret Belden

It wasn’t pretty, but the Wildcats were able to hold off Stony Brook 3-2 to stay unbeaten at home this season and improve their record to 8-1-2. The Wildcats were able to build a 3-1 lead in the first half off of goals from seniors A.J. Albers, Fazal Nabi and junior Chris Wingate. The second half was a different story. The Wildcats conceded a goal in the 73rd minute and were just able to hold off the Seawolves after a flurry of chances down the stretch.
“There wasn’t a lot of good within this game,” head coach Marc Hubbard said. “It’s good to win and move forward but we have a lot to work on. We can’t perform like that.”
The Wildcats let up the first goal in the 12th minute off of a scramble for the ball. Stony Brook forward Alejandro Fritz collected the ball and buried it into the back left corner of the net to give the Seawolves an early 1-0 lead. The Wildcats took no time to bounce back, scoring only three minutes later. Freshman Chris Arling sent the ball into the box and found the foot of Albers, who rocketed a shot to the top left corner of the net to tie the game.
A few minutes later Nabi put the Wildcats up 2-1, after dribbling through the Seawolves defense and putting one past the goalkeeper. Wingate gave the Wildcats a 3-1 lead just before the half when he was fouled in the box and awarded a penalty kick. Wingate finished the opportunity, and the Wildcats went into half time with a comfortable two-goal lead. Despite the lead, Hubbard says the Wildcats didn’t even play that well in the first half.
“We actually didn’t do a lot well in the first half,” Hubbard said. “The second and third goal was off missed plays by their defense and it was a good job by our forwards making the play, but it wasn’t anything we did.”
As the second half began, it was clear that the Seawolves were not going away. The Wildcats struggled to posses the ball and were on their heels as Stony Brook made constant runs on net. Senior goalkeeper Ryan Carpenter was forced to make three saves on promising chances for the Seawolves.
“They came out in the second half and they were pressuring a lot higher,” Hubbard said. “We should be ready for that and there is no reason why we shouldn’t. When they press higher it gives us a chance to get behind them, and we did, but we didn’t finish when we should have.”
The Sea Wolves attack on goal finally paid dividends in the 73rd minute, when a Vince Erdei header brought Stony Brook within one. The Seawolves kept the pressure up and forced Carpenter to come out of net to make some key saves. Ultimately, the Wildcats were able to hold one and grab their second conference win. Although it was a win, the Wildcats weren’t happy.
“We didn’t play to our full potential,” Nabi said. “That’s the thing that’s most frustrating. When we play better teams we have to be better. We didn’t come out and play hard in the second half.”
The win keeps the Wildcats in first place in America East, while Stony Brook falls to 4-5-2 and 1-1 in conference play. UNH will play host to Binghamton on Wednesday night at 7 p.m.
When asked where the biggest area of improvement was, Nabi summed it up in three words.
“The little things,” Nabi said.