The University of New Hampshire women's soccer team earned the No. 3 seed in the America East tournament and will play host to sixth-seeded Binghamton University on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 1:30 p.m. at Lewis Fields. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for youth (5-18) and seniors (over 65) and $2 for students. The first 100 UNH students will get in free, as will anyone under five years old.
The Wildcats make an appearance in the America East tournament for the eighth consecutive year – the longest active streak in the conference – and the 11th time overall.
UNH, which enters the tournament as the No. 3 seed for the fourth time in school history, has a 4-2-2 record all-time versus Binghamton University, including this year’s 3-2 win on the road Sept. 28.
The Wildcats and Bearcats have met just one time in the tournament, a 2006 tilt that ended in a 0-0 tie after two overtimes before UNH won 4-2 on penalty kicks to advance to the semifinals.
UNH has won two straight over Binghamton and is unbeaten in the last three matchups between the two teams.
The Wildcats have played well at home versus the Bearcats, holding a 3-1-0 record in Durham.
Before the Wildcats’ back-to-back wins against Binghamton, four of the previous five matches went into overtime and three of those needed a second overtime session..
Binghamton had a four-game stretch from 2005-07 in which it went 2-1-1 versus UNH and shut out the Wildcats for a span of 373:05.
Each team has scored nine goals in the all-time series.
In this year’s meeting, Sara Hourihan’s two first-half goals staked UNH to a 2-0 lead before Stefani Knopick scored twice in the second half to tie it. UNH had the final word, however, with Shaunna Kaplan scring in the 79th minute to win it.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
After winning their season-opener, the Wildcats started the season 0-6-1 before turning it around when it mattered most – the start of conference play. The ‘Cats won four of their next five and five of eight overall to cap the season and land the third seed in the tournament.
SCOUTING THE BEARCATS
After losing just once in their first six games of the season, the Bearcats lost six of their next seven and seven of 10 overall to end the season.
Binghamton was in seventh place and on the outside looking in on the last day of the regular season. However, leading scorer Dani Raske’s goal just 1:39 into overtime lifted Binghamton to a 1-0 win over Vermont and catapulted the Bearcats past the Catamounts in the standings and into the sixth and final tournament spot.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
With their 2-1 win over Hartford on Oct. 19, the Wildcats clinched a berth in the America East tournament for the eighth straight year. The win put the ‘Cats into sole possession of second place and gave them 15 points in the standings.
A win over Maine in their regular-season finale Oct. 23 would have guaranteed the Wildcats the No. 2 seed with 18 points, but their 1-0 loss meant they had to wait for the other eight teams to play their games on the season’s final day Oct. 26, while they sat idle.
A Stony Brook loss and a Hartford loss or tie would have given UNH the No. 2 seed, a Stony Brook win or tie and a Hartford loss or tie, as well as a Stony Brook loss and a Hartford win would have given the Wildcats the No. 3 seed and a Stony Brook win or tie and a Hartford win would have made the ‘Cats the No. 4 seed.
Stony Brook blanked Maine, 5-0, to grab the No. 2 seed with 18 points, and when Boston University’s overtime goal sank Hartford, 1-0, and kept the Hawks at 13 points, the Wildcats earned the No. 3 seed.
WHERE TO NEXT?
The winner of Thursday’s quarterfinal will hit the road to take on No. 2 Stony Brook at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2 at LaValle Stadium.
Senior forward Michelle Sheehan was named America East Striker of the Year for the second straight season to highlight the conference awards for the team as announced by the conference Oct. 29.
Sheehan, who was named the 2007 Striker of the Year after tallying the fifth-highest goal total (11) and sixth-highest point total (25) in a single season at UNH, becomes the first two-time Striker of the Year in program history.
Sheehan, who garnered the third America East Player of the Week award of her career Oct. 13, was also named to the All-Conference First Team for the second consecutive year and was joined there by senior midfielder Caitlin Whelan, who was a member of the 2007 First Team, as well.
Freshman midfielder Stephanie Gilkenson was also honored for her play this season as she was named to the All-Rookie Team. The Wildcats have now had at least one player selected to the All-Rookie Team for eight consecutive seasons.
Despite missing seven games early in the season, Sheehan has still managed to record 13 points on six goals and one assist in 10 games. The co-captain ranks second in the conference in points per game overall (1.30) and in conference play (0.60), as well as goals per game overall (1.57) and in conference play (0.71). As she closes in on the end of her collegiate career, Sheehan sits in seventh on both UNH’s all-time goals (23) and points (55) list.
Whelan, the 2007 Midfielder of the Year, ranks third on the team in goals (3) and assists (3), and fourth in points (9) after playing in all 17 games this season. In just two seasons in a UNH uniform, Whelan has collected 10 assists and is just one helper away from cracking the top 10 on the Wildcats’ all-time assists list.
Gilkenson has played in all 17 of the Wildcats’ contests this season and recorded five points on five assists. The five assists are tied for the conference lead among rookies and are the fourth most in a single season at UNH.