Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Early wakeup call spurred gridders
The Wildcats got pounded.
UNH dropped to 1-3 for the season and its hopes for another successful season and 10th straight trip to the playoffs suddenly looked quite bleak.
The Wildcats met as a team, players only, and discussed their fate and recommitted to their focus, to their effort in preparing for games and to performing in practice and games.
“I think it was kind of a wakeup call,” said redshirt freshman defensive back Casey DeAndrade, who had an interception against Maine.
“It wasn’t embarrassing, but it was like, ‘Wow.’ We need to do something. We started practicing better and better and doing more about focusing on the little things.”
“You’ve got to be a man,” said senior safety and captain Manny Asam.
“You can’t let another team come in and run all over you. You’ve got to put your foot down. You’ve got to protect your turf and that’s what we started doing. People started flying around. People started putting more effort into watching film.”
“There was a difference in approach as far as paying attention in practice and meetings and things like that,” said defensive coordinator John Lyons. “It was staying on top of things and every snap doing what they were supposed to be doing and calling one another out about it, which is good.”
Head coach Sean McDonnell points to that game as a turning point for the defense, too.
Villanova’s outstanding quarterback, John Robertson, had a huge day, but the defense tackled better and did enough to keep UNH in the game and the offense pulled it out with a clutch last-minutes drive, 29-28.
“Going back to 2010 with guys like (Hugo) Souza, (Brian) McNally and (Matt) Evans was about the best defense we had,” McDonnell said. “They were a more physically dominating defense. But this team is playing up to their standards in getting turnovers and getting off the field ...
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LAFAYETTE is 5-6 and has won four of its last five games.
The Leopards took off after inserting freshman Drew Reed at quarterback. In his five and a half games, Reed has completed 112 of his 152 passes (74 percent) for 1,681 yards and 17 touchdowns, with five interceptions.
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THE UNH men’s hockey team will try to get back on track with a pair of games at Colorado College tonight and Saturday night.
The Wildcats had their six-game winning streak snapped with a 4-2 loss at Providence on Saturday and lost at home to Harvard, 6-3, on Tuesday night.
UNH is 7-7-1 overall and has four games left before it breaks for the holiday. After this weekend’s game at CC, the Wildcats play at Boston College on Friday and then home against BC on Saturday.
Colorado College has had a rough start to the season.
UNH’s first line of junior Grayson Downing centering for senior Dalton Speelman and sophomore Dan Correale was a bright spot against Harvard.
“That was a fabulous goal,” said UNH coach Dick Umile. “He’s as quick as anyone and he’s getting confident with the puck.”