Hawks stunned by UNHOctober 11, 2012
WEST HARTFORD, Conn. – After holding on to a one goal advantage for more than 60 minutes, the University of Hartford men’s soccer team was stunned by New Hampshire at Alumni Stadium as the Wildcats came from behind to score a 2-1 triumph. The visiting squad stormed back with the equalizer in the final minutes of regulation and followed suit with the game-winner in the 104th minute to steal a 2-1 victory from the Hawks in America East action on Wednesday night.
With the loss, Hartford, which remains winless in conference play with a mark of 0-2-1, drops to 6-6-1 in 2012. UNH puts its first notch in the win column with the overtime shocker and improves to 5-4-3 overall and 1-1-1 in the America East.
UNH posted the first scoring threat of the match but it was Hartford that struck the scoreboard first on Damion Lowe’s third goal of the season. After gathering the rebound on Javoni Simms’ blocked shot, Lowe buried a shot towards the right post to provide the Hawks with the 1-0 advantage.
Prior to the match’s first goal, Hartford keeper Viltsu Tuumi prevented the Wildcats from striking first in the 12th minute by making an impressive diving save to his right and smothering Ugo Uche’s header from point blank. That proved to be the lone scoring chance of the first half for UNH, which was outshot by Hartford 8-5 during that opening stretch.
The 1-0 Hartford advantage was nearly doubled before the end of the first half on a corner kick. Defender Simon Turesson took the honors on the reset and booted a high ball into the box in the 37th minute. From just six yards out, Anthony Santaga rifled a header towards the goal, but missed just high as he skimmed the upper part of the crossbar.
After the halftime break, UNH turned up the pressure offensively but Tuumi continued to stand tall between the posts, making a pair of solid saves on what would have been potential game-tying goals for the Wildcats.
In the 63rd minute, David Schlatter fired a long shot for UNH from well beyond the 18-yard box to the far post. With Tuumi positioned on the near side, the shot looked to be the first Wildcats goal of the evening. The ball was punched out of the Hawks’ zone before it hit the upper right 90, however, as Tuumi raced across the box just in time to make the diving save.
Tuumi made another key stop at the 77 minute mark after rejecting a header by Uche.
With just over two minutes remaining, it appeared that the Hawks would come away with their first triumph in league play by a 1-0 final. The tables were quickly turned, however, as UNH capitalized on a miscue by Hartford’s defense and converted the mistake into its first goal of the evening in the 88th minute.
The Wildcats regained possession on the miscue and with just 126 seconds remaining in regulation, Jordan Thomas found himself on a one-on-one with Tuumi. From 10 yards out, Thomas put just enough behind his shot to sneak it inside of the near post and force extra time with the game knotted at 1-1.
Both teams came up empty in the first overtime, with UNH coming up with a near miss by Robert Palumbo with less than 90 seconds remaining. The Wildcats were able to deliver in the final extra overtime, however, as David Schlatter found the back of the net on a corner kick scrum to steal the game in the 104th minute.
Tuumi finished with three saves while his counterpart, Travis Worra, collected two. The Wildcats, which fell behind in both shots and corner kicks in the first half, ended the match with a 17-11 advantage in shots and a 9-5 lead in corner kicks.
Hartford has another home contest on the horizon as it hosts the reigning America East Champion Stony Brook on Sat., Oct. 13. The rematch of last year’s title game is scheduled for a 7:00 p.m. kick-off from Al-Marzook Field.