DURHAM, N.H. – The fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team will take on top-seeded Boston University in the semifinals of the America East Tournament Wednesday, November 10 (7 p.m.) at Nickerson Field.
The Wildcats come into the matchup fresh off a 1-0 victory over fourth-seeded Binghamton University in the quarterfinals of the America East Tournament Saturday evening at Bearcats Sports Complex.
UNH jumped on the board in the 62nd minute when a Binghamton defender sent a ball back to goalkeeper Chris Hayen, but it went over his head, bouncing once and finding the back of the net at 61:38 to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead which they would not relinquish.
New Hampshire held the advantage in shots, 11-9, including a 6-4 edge in the second frame. Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) led the 'Cats with four shots, while Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) and Robert Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) each chipped in with two shots apiece.
Boston University and New Hampshire have met in the postseason three times, with the Terriers holding a 2-1 edge. Their last meeting in the tournament came in the quarterfinals of the 2007 campaign when the sixth-seeded Wildcats defeated the third-seeded Terriers, 4-2, on penalty kicks at Nickerson Field. In the two meetings prior, BU has held the edge goals by a combined total of 4-1, winning both contests in the conference championship game.
The last time the two squads met, the Wildcats handed the Terriers their only conference loss of the season, earning a 2-1 victory in double-overtime on Oct. 23. Freshman midfielder Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) delivered the deciding blow in the contest, ending a deadlocked 1-1 tie with a goal at 108:02, giving UNH the win.
Palumbo's tally came following a foul, stealing the ball from a Terrier defender at the left flank, driving it to the top of the box where he fired a shot that found its way into the right side of the net past BU goalkeeper Brandon Briggs.
The Wildcats drew first blood in the contest, as Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) fired a ball from 25-yards out into the right hand corner of the net to put UNH on the board with a 1-0 lead at 49:11. Palumbo was credited with an assist on the play.
It wouldn't take long for the Terriers to strike back, answering with a goal of their own about six minutes later on a strike from Michael Bustamante. The goal was set up by Derek McCaffrey, delivering a ball from the left flank to Bustamante in the box, who got a piece of it with his head and found the back of the net at 55:50.
The Terriers held the advantage in shots, 17-9, including a 6-1 edge in the first frame. Marcus Barr (Wallingford, Pa.) and Steven Palumbo led the 'Cats with two shots apiece.
New Hampshire wrapped up its regular season with a 7-5-5 record and a 2-3-2 mark in conference play. Despite dropping their last two games of the season, the Wildcats were unbeaten in five of their six games prior, notching back-to-back wins against Boston University and Albany (Oct. 27).
The winner of Wednesday's semifinal will advance to the America East Championship game (Nov. 13/14) to face the winner of the other semifinal featuring No. 3 Stony Brook and No. 2 UMBC. The winner of the championship game will receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA championships.