DURHAM, N.H. - In a battle for first place in the America East standings, Mari Creatini scored a penalty-stroke goal with 3:56 remaining in regulation to lead the 10th-ranked Northeastern University field hockey team to Saturday afternoon's 1-0 victory against the University of New Hampshire at Memorial Field.
UNH ends the regular season 10-10 overall and 5-1 in America East. The Wildcats will be the No. 2 seed in the America East Championships and play third-seeded Maine in a Nov. 7 semifinal game at Northeastern University. NU improved to 15-5 overall and 6-0 in league play and will face fourth-seeded Boston University in the other semifinal matchup.
With Creatini breaking in at the top of the circle, UNH goalkeeper Christine Buckley (Walpole, Mass.) charged and stacked her leg pads to knock the ball away. The Huskies were awarded a penalty stroke on the play, and Creatini, the nation's top scorer who entered the game 4-for-4 on penalty strokes, fired a low shot inside the right post to give NU a 1-0 lead.
UNH did not get the ball inside the circle the rest of the way and the visitors held possession deep in Wildcat territory in the final minute to secure the victory.
Buckley finished with four saves for New Hampshire, while Diana Nelson stopped five shots to record her eighth shutout of the season.
New Hampshire's best chance to break the scoreless deadlock came with 11:45 remaining in the first half. Senior captain Jen Stamp (Tyngsboro, Mass.) tipped the ball ahead to herself at midfield and won the race to the ball at the top of the circle. She dragged the ball to the right side, but Nelson moved with her and was in position to make the save on the low shot to the near side.
Northeastern generated 14 penalty corners, but its best opportunity to score prior to taking the late lead occurred seven minutes into the second half, when Creatini's crossing pass found both Sara Webber and Liane Dixon alone in front of the cage and Dixon swept the ball wide left.
In addition to Stamp, seniors Sam Carr (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), Courtney Goodwin (Lynnfield, Mass.) and Julie Munson (Dover, N.H.) played their final home game at Memorial Field.