DURHAM, N.H. - Tournament Most Valuable Player Brendan Hankard (Glastonbury, Conn.) netted the only goal of the game in the 26th minute as the University of New Hampshire men's soccer team captured its second consecutive Nike Fall Soccer Classic championship with a 1-0 win over Iona in the tournament finale at Lewis Field Sunday afternoon. UNH improves to 2-0-0 on the season while Iona stands at 1-1.
Hankard's goal came after a long throw-in from 15 yards out by Chris Bennice (Scotia, N.Y.). As the ball sailed through the box, Hankard was able to get a head on the ball by leaping through the box. The ball found the lower right corner of the net to give the 'Cats the only offense they would need. It was the second goal of the tournament for Hankard. Bennice, a transfer from St. John's, tied a tournament record with his third assist over the two games.
Iona outshot New Hampshire 10-6 on the afternoon but couldn't find the back of the net. UNH goalkeeper Mike Vignola (Hudson, N.H.) went the distance in net to notch his first shutout of the season, making three saves. Gael netminder Patrick McAllen turned away one Wildcat shot.
Hankard was named the MVP of the tournament for a second straight season. Also making the All-Tournament Team for UNH were Tyler Jackson (Amherst, N.H.), Matt Shump (Durham, N.H.) and Josh Hareld (North Kingstown, R.I.). McAllen, David Kinneman and Luke Shkreli received All-Tournament honors for Iona.
New Hampshire extended its home unbeaten streak to 14 games with the win, with the Wildcats going 11-0-3 in their last 14 games on campus. UNH has also won its last four games at home.
New Hampshire returns to action on Friday, September 5 when it faces No. 16/19 North Carolina in the opening round of the Smith Barney Classic at the University of Vermont. The next Wildcat home game is September 27, when UNH hosts Massachusetts in a 4:00 game. That game is scheduled to be played on Bremner Field, UNH's new AstroPlay field.