– Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.) recorded a goal and an assist and Margaux Shute (Norridgewock, Maine) notched her third consecutive shutout to propel the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 2-0 non-conference victory against College of the Holy Cross at Memorial Field.

UNH improved to 5-3 with its third consecutive win. Holy Cross fell to 2-5, and four of the five losses have been by a 2-0 score.

Shute recorded two saves in both halves for her second shutout in as many days – her five-save effort blanked University of the Pacific on Saturday – and sixth career shutout. Her shutout streak now stands at 214 minutes, 57 seconds.

The Wildcats scored both goals on first-half penalty corners. Craigue started and completed the scoring sequence on the first goal to give UNH a 1-0 lead at 24:24. Her push to the top of the circle was stopped by Kara Napolitano (Waltham, Mass.), who passed the ball to the left wing for Sophie Ostroski (Intervale, N.H.). Her shot was tipped in front by Megan Shea (Melrose, Mass.) and stopped by Crusaders’ goalie Erin Singleton (four saves). The rebound went to the left side, where Craigue shot the ball into the cage.

Five minutes later, Holy Cross nearly tied the game on one of its five first-half corners. Eli Skovron’s initial push to the top of the circle was stopped for Jessie Cullen, whose knee-high shot through traffic was deflected away by Shute’s raised right arm pad.

Pressure by the ‘Cats late in the half led to a shot deep on the right side by Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) and a subsequent penalty corner. New Hampshire executed the corner in which Craigue pushed to the top, Shauna Sellenger (Londonderry, N.H.) made the stop and Brooke Bercari (Bordentown, N.J.) blasted a low drive into the cage with eight seconds to play in the first half.

In the 38th minute, a quick transition attack by the visitors gave Sara O’Coin a one-on-one opportunity against a charging Shute. O’Coin tipped the ball around the goalie to the right, but could not chase down the ball to get a shot on the open cage. Minutes later, Shute denied Kara Gonnerman at the right post to preserve UNH’s two-goal advantage.

The Wildcats generated the next two dangerous scoring chances, and both were on corners. In the 44th minute, Bercari fired a low shot that was stopped by Kelly Casey, who replaced Singleton at the start of the second half and tallied five saves. Then in the 57th minute, Casey stopped Sam Geary’s (Norwood, Mass.) shot from the left wing as well as Craigue’s shot off the rebound.

With 10 minutes remaining, a crossing pass from the right side found Crusader Courtney Callahan unmarked, but Shute was in position to make the save at the left post.

The visitors called time out at 64:16 but strong possession by UNH, including that of Bercari in the midfield, denied Holy Cross the opportunity to score.

In the first half, Gonnerman created a dangerous scoring chance for Holy Cross as she shifted to her right around Shute, but could not control the ball in time to put a shot on the open cage. In the 12th minute, UNH nearly scored when Sellenger’s backhanded bid from the middle of the circle rolled wide left.

Shute stood tall for the ‘Cats in the 23rd minute by denying Cullen’s shot from the top of the circle off a corner, and then Alanna Sikorski missed wide right off the rebound. The ‘Cats countered quickly to generate the goal-scoring penalty corner at the other end of the field.

UNH recorded a 16-10 shot advantage as well as an 8-6 edge in corners.

The last time UNH shut out three consecutive opponents was September 1997, when the Wildcats’ streak reached four by blanking Towson University, Brown University, Providence College at St. Joseph’s.

New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 22 (11 a.m.) at Central Michigan. The Wildcats’ next home game is Oct. 6 against conference rival University of Maine. Game time at Memorial Field is 5 p.m.
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