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UNH Wildcats 2021/2022 - Return of the Champions of October?

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  • Pre-Game Festivities and In-Game Analysis

    So despite cutting my arrival at THTBSB (The House That Blue Skies Built) extremely close to kickoff time, I managed to get through the main gate just as the teams were coming out of their locker rooms and onto the pitch. Cheerleaders at soccer games, well, that was a new thing for me (I believe Crystal Palace in the Premier League experimented with that a few years ago?), and the UNH Band's presence was noted but hardly notable. But all in all, everything was pretty routine up until after the two teams were introduced, and long-time Hockey fans will get a kick out of the students shouting out "You Suck!!" at all of the UVM introductions. For fans of foreshadowing, this last bit turned out to be a bit ironic, in a way we've not seen before at The Whitt. But I digress.

    After the introductions, the PR guy introduced one of the UNH starting players (forget who it was?) who was said to have a "very important message" for the fans. The kid then read from a prepared statement with what I'll call "The Ode to Virtue", which read virtually word-for-word from those lawn signs you seen here and there from the most annoying, virtue signaling neighbor in your town. We have a few of those even in Effingwoods, so for the better part of a minute, the kid read through a comprehensive list of all the virtuous things the team supposedly stands for. I'm not sure if it included rescuing puppies and saving Mother Gaia / Prescott Park from the 0.000001 mm/yr. sea level rise from melting of the polar ice caps on The Isles of Shoals. You get the picture.

    Here I was, there to see a frickin' tourney soccer game ... and I have to be subjected to the same stupid PC BS propaganda crap permeating politics and too much of cable news?!? Hard pass, sorry.

    If only that were the end of things ... but no, as just as the "Ode to Virtue" wrapped, we finally got to the National Anthem. As I looked out at the players from both teams, all facing the flag down at the far end of the pitch ... yes, there are two (2) Colin Kaepernick wanna-bes in home jerseys taking the knee (despite their institutional rep, no UVM players did). Again, I don't know or care who the players were, but I'm pretty sure as D-1 scholarship athletes, these kids are hardly the poster children for the oppressed of the world. Again, hard pass.

    By this time, with lots in attendance (and more waiting), the warning bells were already starting ...

    ______________________

    Before I get finish with the game itself ... I've seen a couple of posters on here talking about how the silly "gamesmanship" stuff exhibited by both teams is drawn from the elite level soccer now seen regularly on TV and on-line. As someone who's coached in the sport for almost 20 years now, I can't agree with you more wholeheartedly. The way things were before the Premier League broke through to earn their huge NBC deal to provide weekend morning content from across the pond ... and the way things are now, it's like night and day. As a fan, I love having access to see these games live and on a regular basis - but as a coach, you can't ignore the fact that kids are like sponges, and what they see on TV they often take with them onto the pitch. Sad, but very true.

    And whoever said that it's not as bad with the Women (or Girls, as they are referred to up through HS) though, is right on the mark, too. There are exceptions, and there are some at USWNT level who are notable exceptions and attention-seekers, but player-for-player, the difference is stark, and the drama quotient on the Women's/Girls' side of the sport is notably lower. You can probably dedicate a doctoral length thesis to try to explain why this is the case, and in some ways, it does sound counter-intuitive ... but it is 100% true.
    Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
    Montreal Expos Forever ...

    Comment


    • TL,DR
      Went to college soccer game, got offended when a group supported values of justice and equality.
      Then, got offended when another group didn't support the virtue signaling I like (National Anthem)
      Then, got offended at the sportsmanship of the play

      signed, enemy of the perpetually offended.

      :wink:

      BTW, I started watching college soccer this year because of daughter's college is on ESPN channel a fair bit. Cool sport, and I can see the appeal spreading across the game. The one thing I always hated in the pros was the arbitrary stoppage time, so the college "no stoppage time whatsoever" is completely confusing. The winning team can just substitute, swap out the inbounder, and delay delay delay.
      The Umile legacy:
      14-15 8th place,
      15-16 10th place
      16-17 10th place
      17-18 11th place
      18-19 8th place
      19-20 9th place
      20-21 10th place
      21-22 9th place

      Comment


      • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
        TL,DR
        Went to college soccer game, got offended when a group supported values of justice and equality.
        Then, got offended when another group didn't support the virtue signaling I like (National Anthem)
        Then, got offended at the sportsmanship of the play

        signed, enemy of the perpetually offended.

        :wink:

        BTW, I started watching college soccer this year because of daughter's college is on ESPN channel a fair bit. Cool sport, and I can see the appeal spreading across the game. The one thing I always hated in the pros was the arbitrary stoppage time, so the college "no stoppage time whatsoever" is completely confusing. The winning team can just substitute, swap out the inbounder, and delay delay delay.
        The ref can and does stop the clock from time to time when he deems it necessary (injuries, bookings, clear time wasting by a team). Happened on several occasions Sunday. The flip side is there is no added time.
        Last edited by wildcatdc; 11-16-2021, 04:47 PM.
        Signature line intentionally left blank.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by wildcatdc View Post

          The ref can and does stop the clock from time to time when he deems it necessary (injuries, bookings, clear time wasting by a team). Happened on several occasions Sunday. The flip side is there is no added time.
          Ah, that makes more sense. Thanks.
          The Umile legacy:
          14-15 8th place,
          15-16 10th place
          16-17 10th place
          17-18 11th place
          18-19 8th place
          19-20 9th place
          20-21 10th place
          21-22 9th place

          Comment


          • Mark Divver @MarkDivver
            UMass banged up heading into UNH weekend

            Nathan Strauss @NathanPStrauss
            "We're pretty shorthanded. We're missing four of our top six forwards. Lopina, Faith, Kiefeuk, and Wait will all be out this weekend." - Carvel

            Comment


            • Originally posted by boblav1 View Post
              Mark Divver @MarkDivver
              UMass banged up heading into UNH weekend

              Nathan Strauss @NathanPStrauss
              "We're pretty shorthanded. We're missing four of our top six forwards. Lopina, Faith, Kiefeuk, and Wait will all be out this weekend." - Carvel
              Thanks for sharing...imagine Carvel has plenty of depth but we'll take what we can get!
              Here we go 'Cats!!

              Comment


              • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
                TL,DR
                Went to college soccer game, got offended when a group supported values of justice and equality.
                Then, got offended when another group didn't support the virtue signaling I like (National Anthem)
                Then, got offended at the sportsmanship of the play

                signed, enemy of the perpetually offended.

                :wink:
                LOL

                Classifying my comments as being "offended" would be a stretch TBH 'Watcher, but I'll definitely cop to "annoyed". Thankful that despite their (very obvious) shortcomings, MS7 doesn't have his guys acting the "woke" role, with MacKinnon reading the "Ode to Virtue" before the opening faceoff, Ward and Reid taking the knee on the blueline during the Anthem etc. blech.

                I will say, though, that you ARE the first and only person I've ever seen referring to the playing of our National Anthem as "virtue signaling". Silly me, here I thought it was y'know, a unifying song and part of the tapestry of American history that binds us all as y'know ... Americans??

                Then again, if my side was underperforming in DC like the the Magoo Administration has been over these last 10 months, I'd be looking to deflect attention elsewhere too, so I get it. Because it was never frivolous to vote for a dementia-ridden fossil and his socialist backers, right? Where inflation is good, and border security is bad?? Magnificent job so far, in turning the greatest country in the world into Venezuela North ... makes MS7 look like Scotty Bowman by comparison.

                EBTD

                :wink:

                Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
                BTW, I started watching college soccer this year because of daughter's college is on ESPN channel a fair bit. Cool sport, and I can see the appeal spreading across the game. The one thing I always hated in the pros was the arbitrary stoppage time, so the college "no stoppage time whatsoever" is completely confusing. The winning team can just substitute, swap out the inbounder, and delay delay delay.
                I think wildcatdc handled most of this very nicely. As far as "stoppage time" goes elsewhere ... it's not arbitrary. Knowing a fair few referees out there, they actually track in-game stoppages very closely, and add it on their watches as the half plays out. As you know, most refs will allow the final attacking movement of a trailing/tied team to play out, even if it runs a few seconds (or minute) past what technically would be the half, or final whistle. Most officials will explain this as allowing time to counter-balance the time-wasting exploits often used by the defending/leading side.

                And no referee ever wants to make the call on whether a would-be goal "beat the clock" or not. Plus, there's nothing that screams "this isn't in the spirit of soccer" than the countdown of the final seconds of play on the scoreboard (plus the PA announcer on Sunday). It's actually one of the few remaining relics of US soccer that's not fully on board with FIFA.

                Speaking of "relics" of US soccer, just for S&G ... when I started a generation ago, HS officials used to signal offsides not with the raised flag (or a unique signal or whistle), but with hands-on-hips, just like the offsides call in (American) football. That eventually went away, as the influence of FIFA-friendly MLS grew (the old NASL used to take a lot of liberties with the FIFA laws), but it will still get a chuckle out of longer-serving soccer officials out there. :-)
                Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                Montreal Expos Forever ...

                Comment


                • [QUOTE=Chuck Murray;n3694439]
                  I think wildcatdc handled most of this very nicely. As far as "stoppage time" goes elsewhere ... it's not arbitrary. Knowing a fair few referees out there, they actually track in-game stoppages very closely, and add it on their watches as the half plays out. As you know, most refs will allow the final attacking movement of a trailing/tied team to play out, even if it runs a few seconds (or minute) past what technically would be the half, or final whistle. Most officials will explain this as allowing time to counter-balance the time-wasting exploits often used by the defending/leading side.

                  And no referee ever wants to make the call on whether a would-be goal "beat the clock" or not. Plus, there's nothing that screams "this isn't in the spirit of soccer" than the countdown of the final seconds of play on the scoreboard (plus the PA announcer on Sunday). It's actually one of the few remaining relics of US soccer that's not fully on board with FIFA.
                  Why not just start and stop the clock like every other game.

                  Speaking of "relics" of US soccer, just for S&G ... when I started a generation ago, HS officials used to signal offsides not with the raised flag (or a unique signal or whistle), but with hands-on-hips, just like the offsides call in (American) football. That eventually went away, as the influence of FIFA-friendly MLS grew (the old NASL used to take a lot of liberties with the FIFA laws), but it will still get a chuckle out of longer-serving soccer officials out there. :-)
                  I'll not understand why they allow the offside rule to continue. Getting behind the defenders is a virtue, and having defenders run away from their position to counter that seems like a stupid practice in a sport where there's not enough scoring. Can you imagine Devin McCourty seeing that a WR has beat his cornerback deciding the best play is to run toward the line of scrimmage?

                  edited to Hockeyref's completely valid point. Sorry about derailing
                  Last edited by NCAA watcher; 11-17-2021, 08:55 AM.
                  The Umile legacy:
                  14-15 8th place,
                  15-16 10th place
                  16-17 10th place
                  17-18 11th place
                  18-19 8th place
                  19-20 9th place
                  20-21 10th place
                  21-22 9th place

                  Comment


                  • Sunday's Game, and What Lies Beyond (finale)

                    After apparently offending half the board (or more?) with some of my pre-match observations, we can finally get to the game here on USCHO Dos. As I'm sure Snives noticed, there were a LOT of UNH starters who hailed from beyond our borders, and I'm sure MS7 could learn from this by trying to expand his recruiting map as many on here have suggested in recent years. Coach Hubbard is still relatively early in his UNH tenure, but what he has built in that short stretch is amazing, and having won the last three (3) America East tourney titles is impressive.

                    Problem is, on Sunday, one team played like their season was on the line, and one team played like their season was not on the line. And it was pretty obvious right from the start, UVM was there to battle. The first foul was within a couple minutes, and it was a hard foul, sending a clear message that I'm not sure UNH ever received, at least until it was too late. UVM had the better of the early play, using a high press that I'm not sure UNH's backs ever really adjusted to, and compressing space to corral UNH's mids. UNH tried to play around the pressure out on the wings, but really never got much established, and seemed to grow increasingly frustrated as UVM executed on its game plan.

                    What turned out to be UNH's best chance on goal came about 10 minutes into the match, when a 20 yard shot from the top of the box forced the UVM 'keeper into a diving save to push the ball around the post to his right. By then, UVM had already tested the UNH 'keeper after his backs had given up an early chance. And what would be UNH's best chance of the match came after a similar giveaway by a UVM defender under pressure saw UNH's left-sided mid bearing down on goal from an angle, about 10 yards out, with a clear shooting opportunity. But he curiously chose not to shoot, looking instead to find a trailing runner with a better angle on goal, UVM cut out the pass, and that disappeared quickly.

                    My hope was that at the halftime break, Coach Hubbard might be able to make some adjustments to turn the tide (it was still scoreless, but it felt like UVM was playing its game), and for awhile in the second half, it looked like UNH was doing a better job of playing between UVM's lines, but UVM always seemed to react quickly and close/crowd out any brief openings that UNH enjoyed. When the goal came, though, it was a beauty - full volley, guessing about 15 yards out, top right corner with the UNH 'keeper never having a chance. You can watch a full weekend of PL games sometimes and not see a goal of that quality. And the UVM kids - no doubt recalling the "you suck" chants from the pre-game intros - rushed over to give it back to the UNH student section, and in spades. I couldn't help but smile ... I'm all for the pre-game chants, be it soccer or hockey, it livens things up for sure, and gives it all a fun edge, but the UVM players' response was in-your-face perfection.

                    Right then and there, I knew the game was over. There was no way UNH was going to break these kids down, they'd tried to go around them, they'd tried to go through them, and the teams could have played until midnight, and I doubt UNH would have scored. This was UVM's moment ...

                    ... and for UNH, it had an all-too-familiar scent of distant postseason hockey (or even football) failings. Football is probably the better comparison, as it's also a sport where UNH plays in a league not generally recognized as nationally competitive, whilst Hockey plays in what has been (by consensus) one of the top two national D-1 leagues for a very long time now.

                    Looking ahead, with UNH in the tourney, and with a home game in the Round of 32 (as 16th seed) they will have a chance to make amends and advance to play what will likely be the #1 seed in the Round of 16. I'm hoping to catch what will likely be the home season finale this Sunday at THTBSB, and might show up a few minutes later than I did last weekend to avoid some of the annoying crap. My guess is Coach Hubbard will get them past the first round, and then "try to do a UVM" against the top seed in the next round to get to the Round of 8, which would arguably justify their #6 in-season national ranking. My further guess is, they're not built to play and win that kind of game (sound familiar, long-time hockey fans?), but it doesn't change the fact that Coach Hubbard is building a program that allows UNH to compete at levels nationally that we used to take for granted with the program across the street. And if Soccer can do it ... why not Hockey???
                    Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                    Montreal Expos Forever ...

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post

                      If you follow any of the players or MS's social media feed, it's more likely they'll virtue signal your way --- BTW, when is the next military appreciation ceremony?



                      https://www.usatoday.com/story/sport...ck/6702871002/




                      Why not just start and stop the clock like every other game.



                      I'll not understand why they allow the offside rule to continue. Getting behind the defenders is a virtue, and having defenders run away from their position to counter that seems like a stupid practice in a sport where there's not enough scoring.

                      Could not agree more... field hockey got rid of offsides back in the early 90's. Opened up the game, made it one less thing for us officials to deal with, and scoring increased for the most part....

                      And ahem, fwiw dept:

                      Hey folks, I thought we were NOT going to do the politics thing on this board. And when anyone other than Chuck brings it up, someone comes in and freaks out about it. I refuse to engage with any of it but I know that if I did, I'd get flack. So, here's some flack! I could fire back etc, but, I'll just be pizzed off in silence. And, I can choose to just not read it. But how about 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander' here. Harrumph.
                      Here we go 'Cats!!

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by HockeyRef View Post
                        And ahem, fwiw dept:

                        Hey folks, I thought we were NOT going to do the politics thing on this board. And when anyone other than Chuck brings it up, someone comes in and freaks out about it. I refuse to engage with any of it but I know that if I did, I'd get flack. So, here's some flack! I could fire back etc, but, I'll just be pizzed off in silence. And, I can choose to just not read it. But how about 'what's good for the goose is good for the gander' here. Harrumph.
                        You are absolutely right. I edited my post, and feel free to remove my quoted part from your post.
                        The Umile legacy:
                        14-15 8th place,
                        15-16 10th place
                        16-17 10th place
                        17-18 11th place
                        18-19 8th place
                        19-20 9th place
                        20-21 10th place
                        21-22 9th place

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
                          Why not just start and stop the clock like every other game.
                          Baseball and cricket don't have a clock. Rugby has a clock, but the game often extends well beyond the expiration of time on the clock - similar to soccer. Maybe it's an English thing?

                          The history of soccer is that the time is enforced on the pitch, and the referee gets to enforce it. We all recognize there is much more gamesmanship in the game than any of us like. Most of that is clock-related. One of the only ways a referee can try to counteract that is to allow more time at the end to counterbalance the gamesmanship. And I don't know of any single soccer fan who wants to have a goal chalked off because it was 0.2 seconds too late. My sense is most folks are OK with trusting the official with timekeeping (as a fan, coach and player, I am), just as most folks (not me) seem OK with 6'5" goalies crouching under 4' crossbars on their knees in ice hockey. We all have our crosses to bear I guess, 'Watcher. ;-)

                          Originally posted by NCAA watcher View Post
                          I'll not understand why they allow the offside rule to continue. Getting behind the defenders is a virtue, and having defenders run away from their position to counter that seems like a stupid practice in a sport where there's not enough scoring. Can you imagine Devin McCourty seeing that a WR has beat his cornerback deciding the best play is to run toward the line of scrimmage?
                          I've actually never been a hard-liner on offsides in soccer, 'Watcher. I believe in the old NASL, there was a rule where you could not be offsides as an attacker beyond the top of the 18 yard box. I still don't think that was a terrible rule, but I get the sense that FIFA and long-time soccer leagues/countries don't want to backslide on offsides rules, if only because there might be this big change - more goals, right? Ironically, offsides rules (oops - "laws") have been tinkered with over the years, even by FIFA. I wouldn't be shocked to see a tweak like the NASL version used someday, but overall there is no big push for it in the game right now. Most folks seem OK with it - probably "just because" it has always been that way FWIW.

                          Teaching the offsides rule (and the "trap") to defenders is a challenge. It's definitely not as simple as "running the other way". You have to have your whole back line moving in concert to pull it off, and they have to move at the right time, so the McCourty example isn't accurate. Another stupid HS soccer story I'll share was teaching my team how to work it during our first preseason together. Getting four kids to tune into each other so they adjust as a straight line is tough enough, but they eventually got that part, and they took great pride in pulling it off. They got so good at it, they would count the times they pulled it successfully every game, and it would annoy opponents. Problem was, the kids would try to pull it too often, even when there was no pressure on the ball, and an opponent had the time to pick a pass to a well-timed run to beat the thing. Let's just say it made for many "teachable moments". Good times though!

                          P.S. to HR - I'll try to minimize your concerns, but I have to point out that it wasn't my side that decided to politicize virtually everything in the country for the last 4+ years. So now that the folly of the "let's vote for the senile guy" has been exposed, I'm not supposed to point that out? Yeah, right ... ;-)
                          Sworn Enemy of the Perpetually Offended
                          Montreal Expos Forever ...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post

                            Baseball and cricket don't have a clock. Rugby has a clock, but the game often extends well beyond the expiration of time on the clock - similar to soccer. Maybe it's an English thing?

                            The history of soccer is that the time is enforced on the pitch, and the referee gets to enforce it. We all recognize there is much more gamesmanship in the game than any of us like. Most of that is clock-related. One of the only ways a referee can try to counteract that is to allow more time at the end to counterbalance the gamesmanship. And I don't know of any single soccer fan who wants to have a goal chalked off because it was 0.2 seconds too late. My sense is most folks are OK with trusting the official with timekeeping (as a fan, coach and player, I am), just as most folks (not me) seem OK with 6'5" goalies crouching under 4' crossbars on their knees in ice hockey. We all have our crosses to bear I guess, 'Watcher. ;-)



                            I've actually never been a hard-liner on offsides in soccer, 'Watcher. I believe in the old NASL, there was a rule where you could not be offsides as an attacker beyond the top of the 18 yard box. I still don't think that was a terrible rule, but I get the sense that FIFA and long-time soccer leagues/countries don't want to backslide on offsides rules, if only because there might be this big change - more goals, right? Ironically, offsides rules (oops - "laws") have been tinkered with over the years, even by FIFA. I wouldn't be shocked to see a tweak like the NASL version used someday, but overall there is no big push for it in the game right now. Most folks seem OK with it - probably "just because" it has always been that way FWIW.

                            Teaching the offsides rule (and the "trap") to defenders is a challenge. It's definitely not as simple as "running the other way". You have to have your whole back line moving in concert to pull it off, and they have to move at the right time, so the McCourty example isn't accurate. Another stupid HS soccer story I'll share was teaching my team how to work it during our first preseason together. Getting four kids to tune into each other so they adjust as a straight line is tough enough, but they eventually got that part, and they took great pride in pulling it off. They got so good at it, they would count the times they pulled it successfully every game, and it would annoy opponents. Problem was, the kids would try to pull it too often, even when there was no pressure on the ball, and an opponent had the time to pick a pass to a well-timed run to beat the thing. Let's just say it made for many "teachable moments". Good times though!

                            P.S. to HR - I'll try to minimize your concerns, but I have to point out that it wasn't my side that decided to politicize virtually everything in the country for the last 4+ years. So now that the folly of the "let's vote for the senile guy" has been exposed, I'm not supposed to point that out? Yeah, right ... ;-)
                            Well Chuck, I'm not the forum police. And I wasn't the one who said that we should keep politics off this board. Given the discourse of 2020 over the cafe etc things got pretty nasty. I mean, do feel free to say what you are going to say and I'm sure you will. I do not agree with your politics just as you would not agree with mine, and, I know you'd welcome discourse about any POV. My point was more to the fact that if I, HR, was making political statements that frankly, have nothing to do with UNH hockey, I can BET there's at least one or two who would call me on it (and they have). They prob wouldn't call you out on it anyway as they most likely agree with it OR maybe they want to keep this place about hockey. Which, has veered off course with our great field hockey, mens soccer discussions!

                            So gee with both of us being grown adults, and, living in a country that allows for 'free speech' I've made my point, you've made yours. I usually skip over any Biden references you make anyway. Kind of reminds me of the OJ trial when Johnny Cochran would say a bunch of stuff that wasn't allowed, he'd get admonished by the 'judge' Lance Ito, apologize, and just keep on doing it. Point was, that the jury heard it anyway. Ho hum. And please, don't even get me started on things being 'politicized'...I believe your side has done plenty of that. ha!

                            Here we go 'Cats!!

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Chuck Murray View Post
                              Sunday's Game, and What Lies Beyond (finale)

                              ...there were a LOT of UNH starters who hailed from beyond our borders, and I'm sure MS7 could learn from this by trying to expand his recruiting map as many on here have suggested in recent years.
                              To be fair it looks like coaching staff has tried to expand the recruiting map but has not shown the ability to actually get the job done.

                              And not everyone on here thinks the way back to relevance is to expand the map, but instead to focus on the state borders, never mind the international ones.
                              UNH Hockey: From "Why Not Us' to "Woe is Us"

                              Comment


                              • Atta boy Andrew
                                Here we go 'Cats!!

                                Comment

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