FIELD HOCKEY FALLS 5-2 TO #3 SYRACUSE IN SEASON OPENER

HAYLEY RAUSCH

DURHAM, N.H. – Lindsey Conrad scored two goals and Amy Kee recorded two assists to lead the third-ranked Syracuse University field hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 5-2 non-conference victory against the University of New Hampshire at Memorial Field.

This was the season opener for UNH and SU improved to 2-0.

Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) scored for the Wildcats and goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.), in just her second career start, made a personal-best eight saves.

SU, which recorded the edge in both shots (24-12) and penalty corners (10-6), also received goals from Shelby Schraden, Kelsey Millman and Kristin Girouard; Millman was also credited with an assist. Ashleigh McGowan started the game in goal and earned the win with three saves and one goal allowed in 35 minutes. Leann Stiver played the second half and also turned aside three shots with one goal against.

UNH created a dangerous scoring opportunity off a penalty corner in the ninth minute when Kyle Lyons’ (White River Junction, Vt.) shot from the top-left of the circle was turned aside by McGowan’s right leg pad.

The Orange took at 1-0 lead moments later at 9:54. Millman carried the ball down the right wing and passed low to Schraden, who collected the ball and fired a low shot inside the far post.

Syracuse struck again at 16:02 on one of its five first-half penalty corners. Maggie Befort pushed the ball into play to the left wing, where Kee swung the ball across to Conrad and she blasted a low shot through traffic into the cage.

That prompted a UNH timeout, and the Wildcats responded minutes later with pressure resulting in Rausch’s close-range shot from the right side that was blocked away by McGowan.

The visitors extended the advantage to 3-0 at 24:58 when Kee’s long entry hit from 30 yards was redirected in the middle of the circle by Girouard high under the crossbar.

New Hampshire pulled within 3-1 at 29:42. Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) carried the ball along the goal line on the right side and pushed the ball to the middle of the circle, where Shea collected the pass and scored with a shot inside the left post.

SU threatened with another corner in the closing minutes, but Kee’s shot off the stop at the top of the circle was blocked in front by a UNH defender, then Nagengast was in position to deny Millman, who had pushed the ball into play, from pointblank range.

The Wildcats also had a dangerous scoring opportunity before halftime. Frates approached midfield and sent a through ball behind the defense that Shea tracked down on the left wing. She angled in towards the goal but McGowan charged from the goalmouth to make the save and preserve SU’s 3-1 lead heading into halftime.

The Orange was awarded a corner in the opening minutes of the second half, but Nagengast denied Martina Loncarica’s shot from the top of the circle. Millman would not be denied, however, as her goal at 38:07 gave SU a 4-1 advantage. Heather Susek initiated the play with a pass from the middle of the circle to the lower left, where Millman shot the ball into the cage.

Loncarica received a yellow card at 44:14, and UNH capitalized to trim the deficit to 4-2 at 46:47. Following a foul by the Orange, Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire/Ireland) made a short pass forward to Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), who quickly executed a return pass. Collins Smyth then hit an entry pass from 25 yards and Rausch, positioned in the middle of the circle, redirected the ball past Stiver.

Three minutes later, the ‘Cats pressured again. Rausch was denied on a bid from the top-right corner of the circle, but a sustained attack led to Rausch’s shot from the left post that rolled across the goalmouth and wide of the far post.

In the 57th minute, Nagengast thwarted Iona Holloway’s high blast from the middle of the circle with her left blocker, then she denied Loncarica’s bid through traffic from the top of the circle off a penalty corner.

Syracuse closed the scoring at 64:58. Loncarica’s entry hit from 20 yards was corralled in the middle of the circle by Conrad, who took one step the to right and shot into an open cage.

New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 4 (4 p.m.) at Brown University. The Wildcats’ next home game is Sept. 19 (1 p.m.) against the College of the Holy Cross.

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