. – Tricia Crotty, Caitlin Mebs and Michaela Franey each factored in two goals to lead the Rider University field hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 non-conference victory against the University of New Hampshire at Memorial Field.

UNH, which recorded a 24-12 shot advantage and a 12-5 edge in penalty corners, fell to 2-1 on the season while Rider improved to 1-2.

New Hampshire took an early 1-0 lead at 4:45 when Brooke Bercari (Bordentown, N.J.) scored her second goal of the season. Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.) initiated the scoring sequence on a penalty corner with the push from the left wing. Shauna Sellenger (Londonderry, N.H.) stopped the ball at the top of the circle for Bercari, whose low shot hit the back of the cage.

The Broncs rallied to tie the game at 7:41 on the first of Crotty’s two goals. Franey (two assists) drove deep along the left side of the circle and swept the ball towards the front of the cage, where Crotty redirected the ball inside the open right post.

With the visitors gaining momentum, UNH called time out at 19:21. It did not have the desired effect, however, as Rider capitalized on a corner to take a 2-1 lead at 22:22. From the right side, Stephanie Walker played a short push to Allison Vogel, who in turn passed the ball to Franey in the middle of the circle. Franey’s hit was redirected by Mebs (goal, assist) into the goal.

Less than three minutes later, UNH began a succession of four consecutive corners in which Bercari was twice denied by RU goalkeeper Jennifer LoCastro. The Wildcats maintained offensive pressure as moments later a shot by Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.) from the middle of the circle rolled wide right of the cage, then on another corner Bercari fired wide left.

The ‘Cats came out strong in the second half, prompting Rider to call time out at 40:54. Less than five minutes later, UNH generated a 2-on-1 rush in which Craigue’s shot was turned aside by LoCastro, who charged to the top of the circle to cut off the angle.

The Broncs extended their lead to 3-1 at 47:48. Amanda Barretta chased the ball down before it crossed the end line on the left wing, then avoided the defense while dribbling back to the top-left corner of the circle. She hit the ball to the middle of the circle, where it caromed off Mebs’ stick and was then redirected into the cage by Crotty.

With 16 minutes to play, a quick counterattack by Rider resulted in Barretta tipping the ball past UNH goalkeeper Margaux Shute (Norridgewock, Maine) at the top of the circle, but Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) chased down the loose ball and stopped it short of the goal line.

Moments later at the other end of the field, Sophie Ostroski (Intervale, N.H.) fired a shot from the top of the circle through traffic and wide left of the target. With UNH pressing forward, Rider’s Walker gained possession behind the Wildcats’ defense, but Shute charged and tackled the ball away to negate the scoring opportunity.

New Hampshire was awarded another corner with 11:00 remaining, and it resulted in Bercari’s blocked shot and Ostroski’s shot off the rebound trickling wide left. Craigue, off a pass from Megan Shea (Melrose, Mass.), fired a shot from the right wing wide of the near post with 4:00 to play. In the closing minutes, Ostroski’s shot on a penalty corner was blocked, then RU’s Julie Vaccarelli cleared the ball off the goal line at the left post to preserve the two-goal advantage.

Shute finished with seven saves for the ‘Cats while LoCastro was credited with 11 saves.

Including today’s tally, five of UNH’s seven goals this season have been scored off penalty corners.

New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 5 (7 p.m.) at Harvard. The Wildcats’ next home game is Sept. 15 against University of Pacific. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.
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