November 11, 2010

FIFTH-SEEDED MEN'S SOCCER SET TO TAKE ON SECOND-SEEDED UMBC FOR AE TITLE (FREE VIDEO)

DURHAM, N.H. The fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team will take on second-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County in the America East Championship Saturday, November 13 (1 p.m.) at UMBC Soccer Stadium.

New Hampshire comes into the matchup fresh off a pair of wins over No. 4 Binghamton in the quarterfinals and No. 1 Boston University in the semifinals of the America East Tournament. Most recently, the 'Cats took out the Terriers for the second time this season with a 1-0 overtime victory on Wednesday evening at Nickerson Field, advancing to the conference title game for the first time since 1994.

Dylan George (Bangor, Maine) delivered the game deciding blow, scoring a goal with just 12 seconds remaining in overtime to propel the 'Cats to victory. With the win, UNH improves to 9-5-5 overall, as they are the only team in the America East to defeat the Terriers this season.

Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) set up the game-winner, delivering a ball from the left of the box to an oncoming George at the doorstep and he was able to connect with it and punch it into the net at 99:48 to give New Hampshire the win.

With the win, Colin O'Donnell (Hampden, Mass.) notches his second consecutive shutout this season, totaling nine on the season, as he finished the contest with six saves. The netminder has not allowed a goal for 199.08 of play, as he tops the conference in goals against average (0.46), save percentage (.897) and shutouts (9). He also ranks second in saves per game (4.38) and third in saves (70). Additionally, the keeper ranks fourth in save percentage and sixth in GAA nationally.

UNH's hot postseason run steams from its impressive regular season, wrapping up the year with a 7-5-5 record and a 2-3-2 mark in conference play. Despite dropping their last two games of the season, the Wildcats were unbeaten in five of their six games prior, notching back-to-back wins against Boston University (Oct. 23) and Albany (Oct. 27).

As for their matchup against the Retrievers, the Wildcats lead the all-time series against UMBC, 4-3-2. The 'Cats are unbeaten against the Retrievers in five of their last six meetings, posting a 3-1-2 record. UNH's only blemish against UMBC during that streak came last season in their first ever postseason matchup when the two squads squared off in the semifinals of the America East Tournament and the Retrievers earned a 2-1 victory over the 'Cats at Lewis Fields to advance to the conference championship.

In their most recent meeting, the two teams battled to a 0-0 double-overtime tie on Oct. 9 at Lewis Fields. O'Donnell led the way for New Hampshire, finishing with four saves on the night, as the netminder tied his single-season shutout record with the scoreless effort.

New Hampshire outshot UMBC 12-9 in the contest, including a 10-4 advantage in regulation. Despite the team's advantage in the first two frames of play, the Retrievers held the edge in the both overtime periods by a count of 5-2.

Marcus Barr (Wallingford, Pa.) led the Wildcats with three shots, including two on goal. Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.), Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.), Jordan Thomas (Mohnton, Pa.) and George all finished with two shots apiece. Pete Caringi and Andrew Bulls finished with three shots each for the Retrievers.

The winner of Saturday's championship game will receive the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA championships. Links to free live video, as well as live stats, will be available at www.UNHWildcats.com.

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