BALTIMORE, Md. – The University of New Hampshire men's soccer team fell in a heartbreaking scenario in the America East Championship when UMBC tallied a 4-2 penalty kick victory. The Wildcats finish the season with a record of 7-7-6 while UMBC moves on to the NCAA Tournament with a record of 11-4-5.
The first half saw the majority of offense from the Retrievers, led by Kadeem Darces with three shots, one of which was on target. Alex Hussein (Haverhill, Mass.) tallied the lone shot of the half on a header that just missed the target. UNH keeper Travis Worra (Lancaster, Pa.) made a stellar diving save on a blast from Darces to keep the match scoreless. Through the first half of play, the score was deadlocked.
New Hampshire opened up the offense in the second half, trying to break the tie. Robert Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.) rocketed a pair of back-to-back attempts at the UMBC net, but both were saved by Phil Saunders to keep the score even. UMBC's Darces and Michael Scott tallied a pair of consecutive shots that were denied by Worra. In the 90th minute, Mamadou Kansaye took a shot that was blocked by the Wildcat defense off a corner kick. After 90 minutes of play, the game remained scoreless and was headed to overtime.
In the first overtime period, David Schlatter (Marlton, N.J.) nearly tallied the game winner when he ripped a shot that hit the post and stayed out of the net. Schlatter struck again in the second overtime with a point-blank shot that Saunders blocked to keep the game scoreless.
After two additional periods of play, the game was sent to penalty kicks.
Milo Kapor led off for UMBC, sending his attempt to the left side of the net for the 1-0 advantage. Jordan Thomas (Mohnton, Pa.) notched a goal on his first attempt for the Wildcats to level the score at 1-1. Kansaye went second for UMBC and notched his attempt to the right side of the goal. Up second for UNH was Lukas Goerigk (Berlin, Germany). His shot to the right side was blocked by Saunders, giving UMBC a 2-1 advantage.
Liam Paddock scored on the third attempt for UMBC, bringing the advantage to 3-1 in favor of the Retrievers. Palumbo curved his shot to the right side of the target to cut the UMBC lead to 3-2. Darces scored the fourth penalty kick for UMBC to bring the lead to 4-2. Ryan McNabb (Downingtown, Pa.) went fourth for the Wildcats. After sending his attempt to the lower left corner, Saunders made the save to give the Retrievers a 4-2 victory and the America East Championship title.
Worra tied a conference record with three consecutive shutouts in the post-season while the Wildcats now own the conference record for consecutive playoff-shutouts with six.
Penalty Kick Breakdown:
UMBC Milo Kapor: good
UNH Jordan Thomas: good
UMBC Mamadou Kansaye: good
UNH Lukas Goerick: saved
UMBC Liam Paddock: good
UNH Robert Palumbo: good
UMBC Kadeem Darces: good
UNH Ryan McNabb: saved
UMBC wins 4-2