Men's Soccer: UNH revamping offense in spring season

By Sam Donnelly
On April 15, 2014

On Saturday afternoon, the UNH men's soccer team took the field against Franklin Pierce. Although the game was aggressive and at times overly-physical, the Wildcats were able to win 3-1. 

The first half held plenty of action as Duff Thomson, Jesus Tudela, and Karl Frisk made multiple attempts at goal. UNH came out fast as Tudela scored off a free kick from just outside the box. The Wildcats continued to be aggressive; creating more great chances, the best coming when Frisk laid the ball back to Erik Martel whose shot, from ten yards out, went just wide to the right. 

Just minutes later, Tuleda took a corner kick that Thomson was able to get his head on. Franklin Pierce goalie Erick Lemus reacted at the last second to send the ball over the crossbar. In total, UNH had six shots on goal and four corner kicks. 

Franklin Pierce finished the half with a flurry of chances, the best coming from 10 yards out off the foot of sophomore midfielder Casey Schehl. UNH goalkeeper Ryan Carpenter made a diving save to his left to stop the ball. The half ended with UNH clinging to a 1-0 lead. 

"I thought we generated some really good chances we just didn't finish," head coach Rob Thompson said, "Especially in the first half we should have scored a few more."

That would change early in the goalie Aiden Abolfazli for the Wildcats third goal. 

The Wildcats held a 3-0 lead until late in the second half when Franklin Pierce got on the board off a goal from Gareth Dudney

UNH struggled down the stretch as the Ravens picked up the intensity of their defensive pressure. UNH finished the game with 12 shots, while Franklin Pierce tallied five. 

When the final whistle blew the Wildcats came out on top, beating Franklin Pierce 3-1. 

The men's team, entering the fall, has taken on a new look. In years past, UNH has had tall players up front who could win balls in the air with ease. This year's team is not sizable in any sense of the word. Even without that size, Thompson doesn't see a major issue.

"The mentality will have to be the same, we will work hard defensively," Thompson said, "I think we've lost size, but gained some better soccer players."

As spring moves into summer, coach Thompson wants the players to be confident in their abilities. 

"We are good enough to win games," Thompson said, "I'm happy the younger guys are getting time, and when we had our returners in we looked pretty good."

The Wildcats will have their final spring game on May 3 at 1 p.m. at Cowell Stadium. They will take on Dartmouth. Immediately after the game, the Wildcats will host their annual alumni game. 

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