BURLINGTON, Vt. - A goal by junior Nicola Chicco (Claymont, Del.) was the difference as the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team defeated Southwest Missouri State 1-0 in the first round of the Smith Barney Classic hosted by the University of Vermont at Centennial Field Friday.
With the win, the Wildcats, ranked fifth in this week's NSCAA New England Poll, improve to 3-0-0 for their best start since 1997. The Bears fall to 1-2-0 on the season.
Chicco's goal came just past the 80-minute mark, when an initial shot by Brendan Hankard (Glastonbury, Conn.) bounced off the crossbar. Chicco collected the rebound and fired a shot that beat SMS keeper Matt Pickens (2 saves). Hankard was credited with an assist on the tally.
Sophomore Mike Vignola (Hudson, N.H.) got the start in net for UNH and made one save en route to his first career shutout.
UNH is the defending champion of the Smith Barney Classic and the 'Cats have now won five straight games in the tournament dating back to 2000.
New Hampshire returns to action Sunday, when they face Iona in the second round of the Smith Barney Classic at noon. The next Wildcat home game is October 5, when UNH takes on Northeastern in a 2:00 p.m. game at Lewis Field.