PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) scored twice to help the University of New Hampshire field hockey team erase a two-goal second-half deficit, but 20th-ranked Providence College fended off the Wildcats to record a 4-3 non-conference victory Sunday afternoon at the Field Hockey Complex. Both teams have a 1-2 record.
PC quickly turned a scoreless game into a two-goal lead with tallies 1:59 apart by Ashlyn Hudson at 16:23 and Nellie Poulin at 18:22. Hudson scored off a flurry in front in which UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) stopped the initial three shots. Poulin redirected Nicole Fernandez's shot into the cage for the second goal.
UNH trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 21:00 when Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) blasted a hard shot from the top of the circle for her first goal of the season.
The Friars reestablished a two-goal advantage in the waning minutes of the half when Hudson advanced the ball from the top of the circle to Poulin, who scored at 33:38.
UNH trailed by that 3-1 score at halftime but rallied to tie the score with goals 3:24 apart early in the second half. Shea scored off her own rebound to lift the Wildcats within 3-2 at 39:54, then the ‘Cats converted a penalty corner into the game-tying goal at 43:17. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) initiated the play with the push and Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) moved the ball to Shea, who fired a shot into the cage.
Poulin, on a tip-in from Adrienne Marois' shot, scored her third goal of the game to put Providence back in front, 4-3, at 49:09.
UNH immediately responded with pressure, however, and generated a corner within the next minute that produced a Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire / Ireland) shot that was turned aside by PC goalie Rachel Chamberlain.
The ‘Cats continued to attack and were awarded penalty corners in the 55th and 57th minutes. The first led to a shot by Shea that was stopped by Chamberlain.
Nagengast made a pair of saves in the 58th minute to keep the differential at one goal, then at the other end of the field Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) was denied off a corner in the 60th minute.
New Hampshire called time out at 62:03 and took its seventh corner of the half - 10th of the game - shortly thereafter, but the Wildcats did not record a shot the rest of the way.
Nagengast finished with a career-high 10 saves and Chamberlain was also credited with 10 stops.
The shots were even at 18 an UNH had a 10-5 edge in penalty corners.
"This was a heartbreaking loss," 19th-year head coach Robin Balducci said. " But I'm very proud of the performance. We played very good hockey.
"Whitney Frates played an incredible game," Balducci added. "She was a catalyst. Even though she didn't score, she was the reason we were able to come back to tie the score."
New Hampshire returns to action next weekend at the University of Vermont for games against Cal-Davis (Sept. 12; 2 p.m.) and Penn (Sept. 13; 2:30 p.m.). The Wildcats' next home game is Sept. 19 against the College of the Holy Cross. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.