– Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) scored two
goals and Chris Banks (Westborough, Mass.) tallied
two assists to propel the University of New Hampshire men’s
soccer team to Wednesday afternoon’s 2-1 victory against
Binghamton University in America East action at Cowell Stadium.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to seven games (6-0-1) to improve to 9-5-2 overall and 6-0-1 in America East. It is the first time since 1997 that a team completed the conference schedule without a loss. It is also the Wildcats' best conference record since also compiling a 6-0-1 mark in 1994.
Binghamton is now 8-7-1, 3-3-0.
It marked the first multiple-goal effort for George and the four points are also a career high. Banks has now recorded a point in six of the last seven games. UNH goalkeeper Chris Devine (Hampton, N.H.) was credited with five saves while Binghamton counterpart Jason Stenta stopped two shots.
The Bearcats controlled possession in the opening minutes of the match but Devine turned aside shots by Andy Tiedt in the fifth minute and Jake Keegan in the seventh minute to keep the visitors at bay.
UNH scored on its first shot of the game to take a 1-0 lead at 10:06. Banks, with possession on the left wing, struck a centering ball that sailed past Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) in the middle box and was trapped by George in the top-right corner. George then struck a shot inside the right post.
Binghamton continued to control more possession, but the Bearcats did not record another shot on goal until the 39th minute. BU generated an 8-2 shot advantage in the first half but trailed by that one-goal margin at halftime.
The Bearcats capitalized on a UNH miscue to level the score, 1-1, at 48:16. Greg Mathers’ centering pass from the left wing was mishandled by a leaping Devine, and Jake Keegan charged towards the left post and deposited the loose ball into the open net.
In the 54th minute, the Wildcats generated a dangerous scoring opportunity on a corner kick when a service from the left side by Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) was headed in the middle of the box by Josh Bronner (Belchertown, Mass.) over the crossbar.
UNH regained the lead, 2-1, at 62:33 when the duo of Banks and George once again combined to produce a goal. Banks dribbled on the left wing and blasted a shot from 20 yards that Stenta made a diving effort to deflect. The ball continued towards the far post, however, and the oncoming George drilled it into the open net.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, another UNH miscue nearly led to another Binghamton goal. With traffic in the box, a Wildcat defender headed the ball back towards Devine. He had charged off the goal line, however, and the ball sailed over his head towards the right post, where Keegan fired a shot wide.
Mathers generated two more chances for Binghamton in the final 10 minutes. In the 80th minute, his shot from 25 yards on the left wing was snared by Devine on a diving effort to his left. Then in the 85th minute, Mathers’ service into the box was headed on goal by Keegan but Devine enveloped that shot.
The Bearcats had one last chance in the closing minute, when Kyle Kucharski’s service on a penalty corner from the right side carried across the box and Adam Whitehead headed the ball wide of the left post.
Binghamton finished the game with an 18-9 shot advantage, but only a 6-4 edge in shots on goal. Corner kicks were even, 4-4.
UNH, the America East regular-season champion and No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament, plays its regular-season finale Nov. 3 against intrastate rival Dartmouth College. Game time for the Senior Day game at Bremner Field is 7 p.m.