DURHAM, N.H.—The second-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team is set to host Hartford University for the semifinal round in the America East Championships on Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Links to live stats and video will be available on www.UNHWildcats.com.
POSTSEASON BOUND: UNH's playoff berth is the third in the last four years and seventh out of the last eight. This year, the Wildcats earned a first-round bye after finishing as the second seed. In 2010 and 2012, the Wildcats made it all the way to the championship match without relinquishing a goal, setting a conference record for consecutive shutouts in postseason play (6). Each of the last two championship appearances have resulted in heartbreaking losses to UMBC in penalty kicks.
ROAD TO THE PLAYOFFS: The Wildcats (12-5-0) are coming off their first 12-win season since 2006 and for just the second time under the tutelage of head coach Rob Thompson. Led by a wide array of contributors, New Hampshire outscored opponents by 12 goals in 2013, holding a 22-10 advantage. On offense, the Wildcats are led by senior Ugochukwu Uche (Ann Arbor, Mich.) who comes into the game with a career-high 13 points on six goals and one assist. Four of his goals were game winners. Jesus Tudela (Zaragoza, Spain) split his nine points on three goals, all of which were game winners, and three assists. Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) tallied six points on a goal and four assists as co-captain Davis Schlatter (Marlton, N.J.) split his six points on a pair of goals and assists.
Christopher Wingate (Hovik, Norway) registered five points on a goal and three assists. A.J. Albers (Eagan Minn.) and Lukas Goerigk (Berlin, Germany) had matching totals of four points on two goals as Robert Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) had four points on a goal and two assists. Granite Staters Andrew Chaput (Manchester, N.H.) and Aaron Smith (Loudon, N.H.) each netted one goal and one assist for three points. Gunnar Ericsson (Atkinson, N.H.) scored once for two points while Byron Greenwood (Greenland, N.H.) dished out a pair of assists for two points. Cameron Bielski (Dover, Mass.), Erik Martel (Bedford, N.H.), Connor Pauley (Londonderry, N.H.), Duff Thomson (Greenfield, N.H.) and Jeffrey Turner (Blandon, Pa.) all tallied one point on an assist.
On Defense, the Wildcats held opponents to the least amount of goals surrendered in the conference. The team led the league in goals against average (0.57) and were second in shutouts with nine. Goalkeeper Travis Worra (Lancaster, Pa.) led the 'Cats in net as he started each of the 11 games he played. He registered a record of 8-3-0 with six shutouts. His goals against average of 0.52 and save percentage of .889 landed him tops on the conference. Freshman goalie Giovani Riello (Sao Paulo, Brazil) started all six games he played and finished the regular season with a record of 4-2-0 with three shutouts. He posted a goals against average of 0.65 for second in the conference behind Worra, and a save percentage of .810 for third in the conference.
SCOUTING HARTFORD: The Hawks (14-3-3) defeated sixth-seeded Binghamton University 1-0 in overtime on Nov. 9 to advance to the semifinal round. Javoni Simms lifted Hartford to the victory in the 94th minute of play with his seventh goal of the year. Hartford keeper David MacKinnon made three saves en route to the shutout. The Hawks outshot the Bearcats 20-10 in the match.
Simms and Jeff Tryon lead the Hawks on offense with 15 points each. Simms has his from seven goals and one assist while Tryon has six goals and three assists for the total. Damion Lowe and David Bernhardsson both have 11 points on the season. Lowe registered his on five goals and one assist while Bernhardsson's are from three goals and five assists. Omar Tall has eight points on a pair of goals and four assists while Anthony Santaga has seven points on two goals and three assists.
AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: The winner of Wednesday's match will go on to face the winner of the University at Albany against first-seeded UMBC on Saturday, Nov. 16. The host will be the highest remaining seed.
For more information on the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team, please visit www.UNHWildcats.com.