DURHAM, N.H. -- The University of New Hampshire men's soccer team looks to build off its success from the 2012 season and take one more step, win the America East Championship. Last season, the Wildcats recorded a 7-7-6 overall record and a conference record of 2-3-2. The 'Cats advanced to the conference title game for the second time in three years in 2012, posting three consecutive shutouts in the process.
Returning to the pitch for their senior season are Jeffrey Turner (Blandon, Pa.), Cody Cormier (Bangor, Maine), Robert Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.), Steve Palumbo (Kingston, N.H.), Ugochukwu Uche (Ann Arbor, Mich.) and Byron Greenwood (Greenland, N.H.). Turner played in 16 games in 2012 and made 13 starts. He notched one point on an assist against Penn (Sept. 2) and sent four shots at the opposition from the back line. Cormier made six starts in his 11 appearances, including one start in three conference games. Robert Palumbo erupted on offense last year for New Hampshire as he netted three goals and dished out two assists for eight points. He led the team in shots (39) and also recorded a pair of game-winning goals.
Palumbo made starts in 10 of the 19 games he played in. Steve Palumbo returns to the pitch after sitting out the 2012 season. Uche sat out part of the 2012 season, but came back firing on all cylinders. In 12 games, two of which he started, he scored one goal (Albany; Oct. 14) and fired 15 shots. Greenwood started six of the 12 games he played in 2012 and registered five shots.
The junior class will feature 10 student-athletes, including a trio of keepers. Travis Worra (Lancaster, Pa.) led the way in net as he finished with a record of 7-4-6 with eight shutouts. He ended the season ranked in each of the six America East Conference goaltending categories, including first in shutouts per game (0.47). Blake Dawn (Los Angeles, Calif.) saw action in four non-conference contests and garnered a record of 0-3-0. Ryan Carpenter (Newmarket, N.H.) did not see any game action for the Wildcats. The remaining members of the junior class, comprised of field players, consists of Paul Bianchi (Essex, Vt.), Cameron Bielski (Dover, Mass.), Adrien Lumumba (Newfields, N.H.), Connor Pauley (Londonderry, N.H.), David Schlatter (Marlton, N.J.), Aaron Smith (Loudon, N.H.) and transfer student Kevin Andino (Germantown, Md.).
Bianchi finished the season with four points on a goal and two assists after playing in 17 games. His lone goal came in the semifinals of the America East tournament, propelling the Wildcats to the finals with a 1-0 victory over top-seeded Vermont. Bielski appeared in the first six games of the season and recorded five shots. Lumumba did not see any action in the 2012 season. Pauley made four appearances that included one start. Schlatter played in all 20 games while making seven starts and recorded six points on three goals. Schlatter led the 'Cats to a 2-1 victory at Hartford (Oct. 10) as he scored in the 104th minute of play. Smith played in 19 games and made seven starts through the season. He sent 17 shots at the opposition, including a season-high four against Albany (Oct. 14). Andino transferred to UNH after spending the 2012 season with Montgomery College. He helped lead MC to the national championship game and was named to the Division III National Championship All-Tournament Team.
Four sophomore student-athletes will be returning to the pitch for 2013. This includes A.J. Albers (Eagan, Minn.), Andrew Chaput (Manchester, N.H.), Lukas Goerigk (Berlin, Germany) and Jesus Tudela (Zaragoza, Spain). Albers made eight appearances in 2012 with four starts. He also notched a pair of shots. Chaput played in 18 games and made one start. He also recorded two shots. Goerigk started all 19 games that he appeared in, also taking a pair of shots from defense. He was named to the 2012 America East All-Rookie Team. Tudela did not see any action in 2012.
Head coach Rob Thompson and his staff welcome 10 freshmen to the squad this year; Brandon Allen (East Elmhurst, N.Y.), Riley Ellis (Goffstown, N.H.), Gunnar Ericsson (Atkinson, N.H.), Karl Frisk (Molndal, Sweden), Elijah Leverett (North Yarmouth, Maine), Erik Martel (Bedford, N.H.), Giovani Riello (Sao Paulo, Brazil), Will Szostkiewicz (Longmeadow, Mass.), Duff Thomson (Newton, N.H.) and Christopher Wingate (Hovik, Norway).
The Wildcats start the 2013 season Friday, Aug. 30 as they travel to Bradley University of the first game of the Bradley University Tournament. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m.