MEN’S SOCCER FALLS TO UMBC, 2-1, IN AMERICA EAST SEMIFINAL

DURHAM, N.H. - Senior forward Chris Banks (Westborough, Mass.) posted four shots and tallied a late goal, but it was not enough, as the top-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team fell to No. 5 UMBC in the semifinal round of the America East tournament, Wednesday afternoon at Lewis Fields.

With the win, the Retrievers advance to the America East Championship game to face the winner of the other semifinal match featuring No. 2 Stony Brook and No. 3 Hartford tonight at LaValle Stadium at 7 p.m. As for the Wildcats, the loss knocks them out of the conference tournament, but they still have a chance to earn an at large bid into the NCAA Men's College Cup, which will be announced on Monday, Nov. 16 at 5:30 p.m. on ESPNews.

UMBC drew first blood in the contest, striking the back of the net on its first shot attempt of the game. Mark Lubetkin picked up the ball at the top of the box off a pass from Levi Houapeu and struck the ball from about 30 yards out at the right hand corner of the box and put it into the lower right hand side of the net at 8:52.

New Hampshire would have its chance to rebuttal in the 24th minute, as Alex Russell (Harisburg, Pa.) lofted a ball into the box off a free kick to Banks who picked up the ball in front of the net, firing a shot to the right side of the goal, but was turned away by UMBC goalkeeper Phil Saunders.

In the ninth minute of play, the ‘Cats would have another chance to get on the board, as Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) crossed a pass from the left flank across the box to a charging Banks, but he could not get a foot on the ball to make a play.

The Retrievers would strike again minutes later, as Andrew Bulls got the ball to the left hand corner of the box off a corner kick to Milo Kapor who fired a shot past UNH goalkeeper Colin O'Donnell (Springfield, Mass.) into the top right hand corner of the net at 40:47.

UMBC continued the hot pace into the second stanza, outshooting UNH 4-1 in the early going. However, the shot advantage was not a tale of thing to come, as Banks scored UNH's first goal of the contest in the 55th minute. Russell served the ball on a free kick into the box to Josh Bronner (Belchertown, Mass.) who slid the ball across the box to the right to an open Banks who beat a diving Saunders with a score into the right side of the net. Both Russell and Bronner were credited with assists on the play.

The Wildcats would have one last chance to draw even with the Retrievers in the 87th minute, as Joe Corsello (York, Maine) played a ball into the box off a corner kick to Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.), who connected with the ball but missed on a header wide right.

UMBC totaled 19 shots in the game, while New Hampshire finished with 12.  Bulls led the Retrievers with five shots and Chris Williams tallied four of his own. Banks led the ‘Cats with four shots and Roche tallied three. O'Donnell compiled a game-high five saves, while Saunders finished with four saves of his own.

Providing the Wildcats do not receive an at large bid, Banks finishes his UNH career on a high note, tallying his 30th goal and 64th point as a Wildcat, totals that both rank fourth all-time in program history. He ends the season with 18 points on seven goals, four of which are game-winners, and a career-high four assists.  

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