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Allen Lessels UNH Notebook: Next up, tough Tribe
The University of New Hampshire football team negotiated another step though the minefield of the Colonial Athletic Association on Saturday and knocked off league newcomer Stony Brook, 31-13, in Stony Brook, N.Y., on Long Island.
The Wildcats, ranked No. 20 in the country last week, are 4-3 overall and may not have to win out to qualify for the NCAA's FCS playoffs for a 10th straight season. But, preaching one game at a time all the way, they know winning their last four games is the only way to ensure they reach the playoffs.
The fact that three of UNH's final four opponents also have their eyes on the playoffs, only adds more spice to the mix. The next two games are against teams in a similar fix as the Wildcats.
The Wildcats, at 3-1, are one of four teams with one loss or fewer in CAA games. Maine is at 4-0, Towson at 4-1 and Delaware also is 3-1.
William & Mary beat James Madison, 17-7, at home on Saturday and features an outstanding defense.
William & Mary has been a nemesis for UNH coach Sean McDonnell through the years. His teams had lost all nine they had played against the Tribe until they snapped the streak with a 28-25 win in Durham last season.
THE No. 13-ranked men's hockey team started turning things around before the midway point of the second period of Saturday night's game at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. But it was too late and UNH fell, 4-2, and dropped to 1-3-1 for the season.
The Wildcats move into Hockey East play now and face the team that ended their season last year.
UNH is at UMass-Lowell at 7:15 on Friday night and the teams play again at the Whittemore Center on Saturday at 7.
Hellebuyck tossed a 28-save shutout at UNH last year in the Northeast Regional championship at Verizon Wireless Regional to lift Lowell to a 2-0 win and into the Frozen Four.
THE women's cross country team will try to ride the momentum of the New England championship it won two weeks ago in Boston into Saturday's America East championships for men and women at Binghamton.
"We'll just try to build off that," said coach Rob Hoppler. "We feel we're going in the right direction."
The UNH men are hoping to contend for a title with favorites UMBC and Binghamton.
WOMEN'S hockey coach Brian McCloskey won his 250th career game with Saturday night's 8-5 decision at Penn State. . . . The volleyball team, 12-12 overall and 6-2 in America East, is at Hartford on Friday and at Providence on Saturday. . . . The men's soccer team, 9-5 and 3-2, is at Dartmouth on Tuesday night and plays Binghamton at home on Saturday at 1.
THE men's basketball team, picked fifth in the America East pre-season coaches' poll, opens the season at home against Suffolk as part of a men's-women's doubleheader on Nov. 9 at 7:30 p.m. Vermont was picked to win the league and Stony Brook was second. Albany was third and Hartford fourth. . . . The women's team plays Worcester State on Nov. 9 at 5 p.m. in its opener. The women were picked fourth in their poll. Albany was No. 1, followed by Hartford and Stony Brook.