BALTIMORE – After battling through three scoreless frames of play, the fifth-seeded University of New Hampshire men's soccer team fell to second-seeded University of Maryland Baltimore County, 5-4, on penalty kicks in the America East Championship Saturday afternoon at UMBC Soccer Stadium.
Providing the Wildcats do not receive an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, New Hampshire wraps up its season with a 9-5-6 record, after appearing in its first conference title game since 1994. As for UMBC, it moves to 11-4-3 overall, winning the program's first-ever conference championship and receiving an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Despite falling 5-4 on penalty kicks, the Wildcats held the Retrievers scoreless through regulation and both overtime periods, marking the third consecutive team they have shutout in the America East Tournament, as they also blanked Binghamton (Nov. 6) and Boston University (Nov. 10). The impressive mark makes UNH the first team ever to record three shutouts in the conference tournament.
His impressive performances throughout the tournament earned him along with teammates Joe Corsello (York, Maine) and Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) a spot on the conference's All-Tournament Team.
UMBC outshot UNH 6-2 in the first frame, but were only able to put one shot on net. However, the 'Cats picked up the pace in the second half, posting a 6-3 shot advantage while putting three shots on goal.
New Hampshire's best chance came with just over eight minutes remaining in the first frame on a free kick by Brad Hilton (Merrimack, N.H.) from about 40 yards out as he serviced a ball to Charlie Roche (Haverhill, Mass.) at the left hand corner of the box and he got a piece of it, heading it toward the middle of the net, but UMBC goalkeeper Dan Louisignau snagged it just under cross bar.
Less than five minutes later the 'Cats would have another chance to jump on the board when Steven Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) tracked down a ball on the left flank, maneuvering through a herd of defenders and firing off a shot from about 20 yards out but missed wide left.
New Hampshire finishes the year with 13 overtime games, including 10 in double-overtime, posting a record of 6-1-6 in extended play.