TNH's Annual Wildcat Sports Award
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
For her efforts this season, Puccia was named to the America East All-Conference Second Team and was a selection for the America East All-Rookie Team.
To end the 2011-2012 season, Puccia went off of a 10-game goal-scoring streak and scored a goal in 15 of the team’s 16 games.
Game of the Year
UNH at Montana State, Football
Our choice for game of the year may not be the most uplifting, and there were definitely more positive performances from the Wildcats during this year. Yet UNH’s loss to Montana State in the second round of the NCAA FCS playoffs definitely stands out as one of the most memorable games the football team has played in recent memory.
It was a tight back-and-forth contest throughout much of the game, with teams staying within range all the way up until the final minutes. It even looked as if Montana State was going to be able to put away the game when the Bobcats’ Darius Jones intercepted a Kevin Decker pass at Montana State’s three yard line with 1:16 left in the game.
A shanked punt gave the Wildcats some hope with 17 seconds remaining. It was then when the miraculous happened, with Kevin Decker dropping back and hitting Justin Mello on a 29-yard scoring pass with six seconds left on the clock. The Wildcats were merely an extra-point attempt away from heading into overtime and keeping their chances at a quarterfinals appearance alive.
That’s when this game went from becoming an improbable comeback to a heart-breaking loss, as kicker Mike MacArthur ended up hitting the upright on his extra-point attempt to cement the Wildcats fate, and send Montana State off into the quarterfinals where they faced off against Sam Houston State.
Even before MacArthurt’s botched kick, this game had all of the makings to be named game of the year.
Yet it was because of MacArthur – who was highly proficient over the course of the season, ending the year having hit 83 percent of his field goal attempts and 93 percent of his extra-point attempts – and that missed kick that caused this game to jump to an entirely new level.
There is no doubt in our minds that this loss is still on the minds of those on the football team, which has us wondering just how well prepared the 2012-13 UNH football squad will be. With a quarterback competition and other positions up for grabs, one can only imagine that this loss is being used to as fuel to the already intense fire head coach Sean McDonnell has going.
With this loss in the back of UNH players’, and fans’, minds as the season approaches, one can only feel sorry for the Wildcats first opponent of the season, which is a road test for UNH at Holy Cross.
Coach of the Year
Gail Goodspeed, Gymnastics
After the season UNH gymnastics has had this year, head coach Gail Goodspeed definitely deserves this. She has coached the Wildcats gymnastics squad for 33 years, and is the programs all-time winngest head coach.
During her 33 years in Durham, Goodspeed has reached the postseason 32 times, and during the 2011-2012 campaign Goodspeed led the program to its 30th NCAA Regional appearance out of a possible 31 years.
This year the Wildcats berth sent them to Fayetteville, Ark. where they were fifth seed. At Fayetteville the team finished in sixth place, out of six teams.
Despite the rough end to the season, Goodspeed’s squad had this group prepared each and every week, while still focusing on academics. Fifteen members of the squad were named to the EAGL All-Academic Team.
It is for these reasons that Goodspeed was the best in 2011-2012.