DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire field hockey team scored three second-half goals in a 13-minute span to rally past Harvard University, 3-2, in Sunday afternoon’s non-conference game at Memorial Field.
The Wildcats won their third consecutive game to improve to 3-1 this season. Harvard, which defeated the ‘Cats by a 3-2 score last year on its home field, is now 1-1.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, UNH tied the score just 49 seconds into the second half with immediate pressure on the right wing. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) pushed the ball into the circle and it rolled untouched through traffic to the middle. Brittany Jacobs (Frederick, Md.), unmarked at the top of the circle, moved forward and swept a low shot inside the left post.
Five minutes later, a shot by UNH’s Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.) from the top-right of the circle caromed off the right post and across the goalmouth. Rausch, positioned deep on the left side, then swept the ball wide of the left post.
New Hampshire took its first lead of the game, 2-1, at 43:48 when Harvard goalkeeper Kylie Stone stopped the initial shot by Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) from the right side, but the ball rolled directly to Craigue in the middle of the circle and she fired a shot into the cage for her second goal in as many games and fourth of the season.
The ‘Cats continued to pressure the Crimson and extended the advantage to 3-1 at 48:43. Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.) fired a low blast from the right side of the circle that was redirected by Frates, position low on the right side, inside the left post. It was the freshman’s first collegiate goal.
Harvard called time out at that point and began to regain momentum. Tami Jafar had a dangerous chance in the 51st minute. Her initial shot was blocked by UNH goalkeeper Jenna Lehman (Kingston, Pa.), but Jafar collected the rebound and fired a shot that ricocheted off Lehman’s stacked leg pads and over the crossbar.
The Crimson scored indirectly off a penalty corner at 54:28 to pull within 3-2. Francine Polet’s initial shot from the top of the circle was blocked by UNH’s defense, but Jafar collected the loose ball in the middle of the circle and pushed the ball inside the left post for her second goal of the game.
Four minutes later, Harvard began a succession of consecutive penalty corners. Polet’s shot once again was stopped on the first corner, then on the second corner the Crimson’s shot was struck too high and UNH was awarded possession. Moments later, the Crimson regained possession and they were awarded another corner, but UNH’s charging defense cleared the ball before a shot was attempted.
In the closing minute of play, the Wildcats slowly advanced the ball downfield along the right sideline to secure the victory.
UNH’s Lehman made three of her four saves in the second half. Stone was credited with five saves defending Harvard’s goal.
Harvard scored on its first shot of the game at 10:41. Chloe Keating’s entry pass from the left wing was controlled in the middle of the circle by Jafar, who then shot the ball inside the right post.
UNH’s best scoring opportunity in the first half occurred in the 32nd minute, when Craigue’s long hit from midfield sent Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) behind the defense. At the top of the circle, Shea attempted to redirect the ball past Stone, but the Crimson goalie blocked aside the ball to deny the scoring opportunity.
Shea recorded a game-high five shots (four on goal) and the ‘Cats recorded a 12-9 shot advantage despite Harvard’s 7-1 edge in penalty corners.
New Hampshire concludes its three-game homestand Sept. 14 against 10th-ranked Michigan State University. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.