Women's Soccer: Wildcats dominate Southern New Hampshire
The UNH women's soccer team shut out Division II Southern New Hampshire University 4-0 Friday night at Bremner Field. With a record of 2-0 in spring exhibition games without former head coach Sam Lopes, the team does not appear to have lost any steam since his departure.
Sophomore forward Kirsten O'Neil said that things aren't too different with Carlos Pinhancos and Kyle Bak in command as co-head coaches. Additionally, O'Neil said Lopes left the program heading in the right direction, which makes things easier.
"I mean I wouldn't say [it's] tough," O'Neil said. "We still have Carlos [Pinhancos] and Kyle, [Bak] ... obviously things have changed, like we don't have a head coach, but we're still taking from what we learned from [Lopes] because he made the program grow so much, so we're taking what we learned and keeping on with the process for next fall."
O'Neil scored two goals Friday night, while fellow forwards Meghan Ledwith and Caroline Murray each notched one.
O'Neil got the scoring started off a pass from Ledwith over a defender's head outside the 18-yard box. She volleyed the ball over the opposing goalkeeper's head to make the score 1-0.
For the second goal, Murray beat two defenders to take a shot to the back post, giving the Wildcats a 2-0 lead before the half's end.
In the second half, O'Neil scored off a corner. The ball was deflected around the middle of the 18, and O'Neil took a high shot to make the score 3-0.
Lastly, Ledwith received a pass from the outside and laid in a shot to make the final score of 4-0.
O'Neil said that she, Ledwith and Murray have felt strong offensive chemistry since the latter transferred from Ohio State.
"We've all been kind of on the same page," O'Neil said. "One checking in, one checking out, one drops, so I think it doesn't matter really where we are ... and I think that's how we've gotten so many good opportunities, because it's not just the person scoring the goal. Usually it's a great assist off someone else so it's definitely helpful."
One unsung hero who has contributed to the scoring is Kellie McGoldrick. At center mid, she's rotated with Murray this spring and provided some of the uncredited secondary assists that O'Neil referred to.
"You obviously don't hear about the person passing to the one that assists," O'Neil said. "And [McGoldrick] has been doing that a lot."
Three of the five games on the UNH spring schedule are against DII teams. Considering this, O'Neil isn't concerned about how their success will translate to conference play this fall. Last season, the Wildcats were second to last in scoring in the conference with .67 goals per game.
"We still have a lot of games before [conference play]," O'Neil said. "I'm not nervous about that at all because if we have the right mentality, I think that we can accomplish a lot, and I think that beginning of the season next year will definitely prove it."
Jordan Logue returned to the lineup last Friday from a concussion she suffered earlier this year. Her teammates were a little nervous about her playing again, but she appeared fine.
"I think we were nervous for her to head the ball, and she did a few times," O'Neil said. "But she said she felt pretty good after, so that's a good sign."
Logue said she was more concerned with being on the soccer field for the first time since the fall.
"I was more nervous just because I felt a little bit rusty," Logue said. "I hadn't been in a game situation in a while, but other than that I wasn't nervous, I was excited."
Logue said she felt comfortable again after a couple crosses downfield towards the Wildcats' offensive end.
The Wildcats play their final spring game this Saturday at Bremner Field, when they host Boston University. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
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