DURHAM, N.H. - With the conference schedule near its halfway point, the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team currently finds itself on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. But all that could change quickly for the 'Cats with a big weekend against America East rivals Vermont and Hartford Friday and Sunday at Lewis Fields.
UNH, which is 4-5-2 overall and 2-2-1 in league play, is currently tied for seventh in America East with Delaware with seven points. Albany and Hofstra, which currently hold the fifth and sixth spots, are two points ahead of the 'Cats.
Wildcat head coach Rob Thompson is also searching for his 48th career victory, which would tie him with former Wildcat head man Mike Noonan, Thompson's predecessor, for the all-time coaching mark in wins. Noonan amassed 48 victories while at the helm of the 'Cats from 1991-94.
The Wildcats have not played at home since a 3-1 victory over Stony Brook on Oct. 5. The 'Cats were snake-bitten on their recent trip, losing to Albany, 1-0 on a wind-blown goal Oct. 7 and jumping ahead of Boston University by two goals before settling for a 2-2 tie with the Terriers Oct. 12. UNH was also defeated by Northeastern, 3-1 on Oct. 14.
Sophomore Josh Hareld (North Kingstown, R.I) leads the Wildcats in scoring with 5-3-13 while freshman Logan Lee (Racine, Wis.) ranks second with 3-1-7. Back Brendan Hankard (Glastonbury, Conn.) has scored in two consecutive matches for UNH. Senior goalkeeper Shaun O'Neil (Wrentham, Mass.) has been solid in net, posting a 1.85 GAA in 11 matches.
Vermont, the defending America East champions, enter Friday's contest with a 2-6-1 mark and are just 1-4-0 in league play. Hartford, which sits tied with Towson atop the America East standings with 13 points apiece, is 8-2-1 and 4-0-1.
Kickoff on Friday vs. Vermont is set for 3 p.m. while Sunday's match against Hartford will get underway at 2 p.m.