FIELD HOCKEY READY TO BATTLE FOR AMERICA EAST TOURNEY TITLE

NOTES | LIVE STATS | AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP PAGE

THE MATCHUP
    The University of New Hampshire field hockey team enters the 2008 America East Field Hockey Championship as the #2 seed with an overall 8-10 record that included 3-2 in America East. The Wildcats will battle third-seeded Maine (6-10, 3-2) in a Nov. 7 semifinal game at the University at Albany’s Alumni Field; game time is 4 p.m.

UNH has a 19-10 lifetime record, including this year’s 4-3 road win, against Maine. The Wildcats also won last year’s meeting, 2-1 in overtime. Maine won four straight vs. the ’Cats from the 2003-06 seasons. Each of the last four meetings – and 8 of the last 10–  have been decided by one goal.

Back on Oct. 11 in Orono, Maine, Sarah Craigue scored a career-high three goals to propel the Wildcats to a 4-3 victory. The Black Bears took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute but Brittany Jacobs scored on a penalty corner in the ninth minute to even the score. Craigue scored in the 17th minute to put the ‘Cats in front, 2-1. Maine scored with 55 seconds remaining in the first half, but Craigue struck again with one second on the clock to give UNH a 3-2 halftime lead. Her third goal of the game gave New Hampshire a 4-2 advantage at 46:32. Maine closed the scoring with 42 seconds left. UNH goalkeeper Jenna Lehman finished with 13 saves while UM counterpart Brittany Fleck was credited with seven saves.

A BAD OMEN FOR UNH
    This will be the third postseason matchup between these programs. Maine recorded a 4-3 overtime win in the 2002 America East semifinals and a 2-0 win in the ‘03 semis. Both of those games were at a neutral site, and UNH had won the regular-season meeting both seasons. The Wildcats won this year’s regular-season encounter, and Friday’s semifinal game is at a neutral site.
   
POSTSEASON HISTORY
    UNH will be making its 14th appearance in conference postseason play at this weekend’s America East Field Hockey Championship. The Wildcats have a 5-12 record in the America East Championship tourney and won their lone title in 1998. In their most recent appearance, the fourth-seeded ‘Cats lost 5-2 to top-seeded Boston University in a 2007 semifinal matchup at Jack Barry Field (site of BU’s home games).

The ‘Cats have a 4-9 mark overall in conference semifinal games and a 1-3 ledger in title games. UNH’s most recent title game appearance was in 2000.

HOW WE GOT HERE
    UNH tied for second with Boston University and Maine in the America East final standings at 3-2. The Wildcats earned the #2 seed by virtue of the fourth tiebreaker – goals scored in conference games; the ‘Cats tallied 13 goals in five games compared to 11 by Maine and nine by BU. Maine then claimed the third seed by virtue of its win against the Terriers.
   
AND THEN...
    With a win Friday, UNH will advance to the Nov. 9 (1 p.m.) championship game at Albany’s Alumni Field against the winner of the first semifinal between top-seeded Albany and fourth-seeded Boston U. The America East tournament champion will receive an automatic berth into the NCAA tourney.

THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
    New Hampshire ended the regular season with an 8-10 overall record that included 3-2 in America East and 1-1 at neutral sites. In the regular-season finale, which was a battle for first place in the America East standings, UNH fell 3-1 to Albany at Memorial Field on Nov. 2.

UNH’s 45 goals marks the team’s highest total in a season since the ‘03 Wildcats potted 49 goals. The ‘Cats have scored four-plus goals five times this season; they did not reach that margin in any game last year.

Six of UNH’s losses were to nationally-ranked teams, and that included overtime games against Louisville, Rutgers and Boston College. The Wildcats were outscored 31-9 in those six games. New Hampshire outscored the opposition 36-26 in the other 12 games.

Seven Wildcats started all 18 regular-season games; two others started 17 of 18 games.

BALANCED ATTACK
    Last year, only two ‘Cats scored 5+ goals and Shaunna Sellenger tallied a team-high six goals. In 2008, five players have 5+ goals with Sarah Craigue leading the way at 10. Craigue is followed by Meg Shea (nine), Whitney Frates and Hayley Rausch at eight apiece and Brittany Jacobs at five. Furthermore, nine Wildcats have multiple assists this year in comparison to five in ‘07.
 

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