October 15, 2009

MEN’S SOCCER TOPPLES HARTFORD, 4-1

DURHAM, N.H. - Junior forward Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) tallied a goal and an assist to lead the University of New Hampshire men's soccer to their third straight victory, defeating the University of Hartford, 4-1, Wednesday afternoon at Lewis Fields.

The Wildcats improve to 6-5-1 and 3-0-0 in America East play, while the Hawks fall to 5-6-2 and 2-1-1 against conference opponents. With the win, the Wildcats earn their fourth win in the last five games. As for the Hawks, they suffer their first loss in last four games, including their first loss in conference play.

New Hampshire's offensive outburst of four goals is a season high and is the most the Wildcats have scored since Oct. 29, 2006, when they defeated Stony Brook, 4-0, in the quarterfinal round of the America East Championship.

Chris Banks (Westborough, Mass.) sparked the Wildcats in the early going as he continued his recent hot streak, scoring a goal for the third straight game. Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) initiated the play, picking up the ball deep in the Hartford zone and crossing it over to the far post to an open Banks who tapped the ball into the left side net at 21:22. Hilton was credited with the assist on the play.

Moments later, the Wildcats would strike again, as Joe Corsello (York, Maine) played the ball off a corner kick and maneuvered it into the box as Josh Bronner (Belchertown, Mass.) picked up the pass and kicked a line drive shot from the top right hand corner of the box through a herd of Hartford defenders into the right corner of the net at 23:45.

Following the score the Wildcats would remain active offensively as Jordan Thomas (Mohnton, Pa.) and George each tallied a shot seconds apart from one another at the 33 minute mark, but were unable to find the back of the net on either attempt.

That would change about minute later, as George flicked the ball from the top of the box over to the right side to Thomas who punched it into the left side of the net at 34:50. George was credited with his third assist of the season on the play.

After leading 3-0 at the halfway point, New Hampshire was back at it again in the second stanza as Bronner picked up a ball at midfield and forwarded it to Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) who took the ball deep into the Hartford zone and crossed it over to George who knocked it into the left corner of the net at 51:55.

From that point on the Wildcats and Hawks would trade blows, combining for a total of 13 shots in the remainder of the period. In the 79th minute, the Hawks had their best chance at scoring their first goal, firing a trio of shots at UNH goalkeeper Colin O'Donnell (Springfield, Mass.), but could not find the back of the net as O'Donnell turned away both on goal attempts.

The Hawks would tally their lone goal of the afternoon in the 88th minute as Jorge Rodriguez struck the ball to the far post off a corner kick to senior Kevin Hall who tapped the ball into the left corner if of the net.

O'Donnell tallied five saves in the contest and has now collected four or more saves in each of the last four games. Hartford goalkeeper Luke Citriniti compiled four saves for the Hawks.  

New Hampshire tallied 19 shots in the game, while Hartford notched 17 its own, 10 of which came in the second half. George led the Wildcats with five shots, while Thomas tallied four. As for the Hawks, Carlos Villa and Hall each notched a team best three shots in the match.

The Wildcats return to action on Saturday, Oct. 17 when they play host to the Vermont Catamounts, at 2 p.m. at Cowell Stadium.

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