September 1, 2009

MEN'S SOCCER FALLS TO IONA, 1-0, IN SEASON OPENER

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – Despite outshooting its opponent, 11-4, the University of New Hampshire men’s soccer team dropped its season opener, a 1-0 decision, at Iona College on Tuesday afternoon.

The Wildcats opened up the game with two corner kick opportunities within the first five minutes of action, but were not able to connect. New Hampshire had another scoring chance at 13:35, when Chris Banks (Westborough, Mass.) headed the ball toward the net, his shot, however, sailed high.

Just over 14 minutes into play, Iona had its first chance to strike, but Giovanni Destasio’s shot hit the post. At 17:40, Alexander Paszek headed the ball into the net beating junior goalkeeper Colin O’Donnell (Hampden, Mass.). Mario Rios set up the play passing the ball to Alekander Haxhari, who crossed it high to Paszek, resulting in the Gaels' first goal of the season.

Sophomore midfielder Josh Bronner (Belchertown, Mass.) fired the Wildcats’ first shot on net, but the ball was saved by netminder Nils Binstock just over half way through the opening frame. Five minutes later, Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) earned a shot on net, but once again the ball was stopped by Binstock.

Banks, who totaled four shots in the game, headed the ball toward the goal a second time, but Binstock was able to come up with the save in the 33rd minute. The Gaels countered with a shot on net just over a minute later, but O’Donnell made the save to keep it a one-goal game.

With 1:38 to play in the first half, Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) set up the Wildcats third corner kick of the game. The ball found the head of freshman Alex Hussein (Haverhill, Mass.), but the header sailed high.

During first minute of the second half, George, fired off two shots, but he hit the post on one then found Binstock with his header. George totaled four shots in the game, including a team-leading two on goal.

Banks, also had chances early on, but his shot, just shy of the 51 minute mark, was blocked and his second attempt at 53:11, found the post.

Iona’s Julian Grajales fired a shot trying to expand the Gaels’ lead in the 64th minute, but Chris Devine (Hampton, N.H.), who played in net during the second half for the Wildcats, made the save. 

Binstock, the Gaels' senior goalkeeper, made four saves in the win.

The Wildcats will open up at home when they host the 20th Annual UNH Nike Fall Soccer Classic. New Hampshire will face Bucknell (Sept. 4) and Central Connecticut State (Sept. 6) on Bremner Field. Also playing in the tournament will be America East foe Vermont.

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