DURHAM, N.H. – Senior forward Ugochukwu Uche (Ann Arbor, Mich.) paced the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over the University of Vermont with a pair of goals on Wednesday night at Bremner Field. The win gives the Wildcats the second seed heading into the America East Tournament and a bye in the first round.
The win caps off a stellar season for the Wildcats with a 12-5-0 record and a 5-2-0 mark in America East play. The mark of 12 wins is just the fourth in program history with at least 12 wins and the second under head coach Rob Thompson. The Wildcats also finished the regular season with a perfect 7-0-0 record at home. Vermont fell to 9-4-4 on the year and to 3-3-1 in conference action.
Uche gave the Wildcats an early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute of play with his fifth goal of the season. Senior Jeffrey Turner (Blandon, Pa.) lobbed a pass in from just inside midfield that a Vermont defender attempted to clear. Uche found the failed attempt and one-time a rocket to the top corner of the net.
The Wildcats kept the offensive pressure coming in the first half, holding a 7-3 advantage in shots. UNH goalkeeper Travis Worra (Lancaster, Pa.) was perfect in the half, registering saves on the two shots he faced. Vermont's Conor Leland made saves on two of the three shots he faced through the first stanza.
Exactly one minute into the second half, Uche netted his second goal of the night and sixth of the season to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Freshman Erik Martel (Bedford, N.H.) gained control of a bouncing ball before the midfield point to senior Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) in stride. Palumbo carried the ball past midfield and played a through ball to Uche at the top of the box. Uche poked his shot past Leland to his right and into the goal.
The Catamounts nearly cut New Hampshire's lead in half in the 87th minute as a free kick was sent into the box that connected with the head of Salvatore Borea. Borea's attempt went just wide of the net to keep the score 2-0. Despite on offensive surge by Vermont in the second half, the 'Cats remained resilient and prevailed, 2-0.
Worra remained perfect in the game as he made four saves on all four shots faced in the game for his sixth shutout of the season. His record improves to 8-3-0. Leland got the loss for the Catamounts after allowing a pair of goals on six shots faced. His record falls to 9-4-4.
With the win, the Wildcats earned a first round bye in the America East Tournament and will host the semifinal round on Wednesday, Nov. 13 where they will face the winner of sixth-seeded Binghamton and third-seeded Hartford.
For more information on the upcoming tournament, be sure to visit www.UNHWildcats.com.