DURHAM, N.H. – Senior co-captain Jess Russell (Harrisville, R.I.) scored three goals and assisted on another to lead the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to a 6-2 America East victory in Saturday afternoon’s Homecoming Weekend game at Memorial Field.
UNH won its fourth consecutive game to improve to 9-5 overall and 4-1 in the conference. New Hampshire head coach Robin Balducci attained a personal milestone by guiding the Wildcats to their 100th win in her 10-year tenure. Vermont is now 5-7, 1-3.
With UNH trailing 1-0, Russell helped tie the game by setting up a Kristen Weldon (Avon, Conn.) tally at 28:03 of the first half. Russell then gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead at 14:01 on a low, hard shot from the top of the circle on a penalty corner. Marcie Boyer (Dillsburg, Pa.) and Allie Lehmann (Granby, Conn.) set up the goal.
New Hampshire extended the lead to 3-1 at 10:47 on a shot by Samantha Carr (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) from the middle of the circle that deflected off Vermont goalkeeper Molly Colberg and into the cage.
Vermont, which took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Whitney Gage just 4:49 into the game, struck even faster in the second half to close within 3-2. Amanda Paquette started the scoring sequence when her centering pass was deflected by UNH goalkeeper Amy Agulay (London, Ontario) to the middle of the circle. Sara Mercanti collected the loose ball and fired a shot that trickled into the open cage at 32:04.
As they did in the first half, the Wildcats responded immediately and scored three consecutive goals. Russell scored on another penalty corner, this time from Tami Street (Kingston, N.Y.) and Lehmann, at 29:43 to make it 4-2. She netted her third goal of the game and 11th of the season when her penalty-corner shot at 16:19 deflected off Colberg into the cage.
UNH capped the scoring at 7:16 with its fourth goal of the game from a penalty corner. This time the score was produced by the stick of senior co-captain Kelly Stowe (Topsfield, Mass.). Both Boyer and Lehmann recorded assists.
Agulay finished with four saves and Colberg stopped five shots defending UVM’s goal.
New Hampshire concludes its five-game homestand Oct. 17 against Providence College. Game time at Memorial Field is 3:30 p.m.