DURHAM — It took until his senior year but Bow’s Alex Nagy finally enjoyed a win over the University of New Hampshire men’s soccer team, which he almost played for, on Sunday at Wildcat Stadium.
The victory came in the America East Conference championship game.
Nagy, a midfielder, helped the University of Vermont end No. 6 UNH’s unbeaten streak and three-year reign as conference champion with a 1-0 triumph in front of 3,403 fans.
Vermont (13-4-2), which had not beaten the Wildcats (16-1-2) since 2016 entering Sunday and was the America East runner-up last season, is the second team to defeat UNH at Wildcats Stadium since it became the program’s home field in 2017. The Wildcats are now 42-2-7 at the stadium.
“It was obvious during the game. ...They didn’t stand a chance for that whole game and it was just a great feeling,” said Nagy, who graduated from Bow High School and had many friends and family members among the crowd. “I haven’t beat them in four years since I’ve been here and what better time to win it?”
Both teams will be intently watching the NCAA tournament selection show today at 1 p.m.
After winning its sixth overall and first America East title since 2015, Vermont automatically qualifies for the tournament. UNH coach Marc Hubbard said he thinks his team will receive a first-round bye and host a second-round game in its fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance.
Nagy (five goals, 10 assists) leads the Catamounts in scoring but graduate student midfielder Yves Borie notched their conference title-clinching goal.
Borie, who also had a goal in Vermont’s 3-2 conference semifinal win over New Jersey Institute of Technology, scored in the 68th minute by burying a volleyed shot into the top right corner of the Wildcats’ net off an assist from freshman back Adrian Solano.
Borie then led the charge as the Catamounts celebrated his goal in front of the UNH students section.
“They haven’t lost to us — they probably thought they were going to come out and just take it to us and we took it to them,” Nagy said.
The Wildcats struggled to maintain possession in the attacking third and tested Vermont goalkeeper Nathan Silveira with two shots on goal.
UNH had a free-kick opportunity from about 20 yards out with 3:25 remaining but Rory O’Driscoll’s shot went wide left of the Vermont goal.
Silveira made a diving save to deny an off-balance shot by UNH sophomore midfielder Yannick Bright in the ninth minute.
UNH senior forward and leading scorer Tola Showunmi (10 goals, two assists) did not register a shot.
“They were just doing a good job of condensing the midfield and snuffing stuff out,” UNH captain and Exeter resident Jacob Gould said of the Catamounts. “They just did a good job closing down and making it hard for us to move the ball like we usually do.”
UNH junior goalkeeper Jassem Koleilat, who has allowed just eight goals and recorded eight shutouts this season, made two saves.
The Wildcats outshot Vermont, 6-5, and both teams had one corner-kick opportunity.
Both Gould and Hubbard said the Wildcats did not play their best.
“Probably half the guys didn’t play to their potential and (if) you do that against a team who is very committed to their task and what they’re doing then you get caught,” Hubbard said. “Credit to them. They worked really hard and did what they were supposed to do and we couldn’t figure it out, couldn’t get going.
“I’m not surprised we didn’t get the result because we didn’t show up.”