– Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) extended her
point-scoring streak to nine games with two goals and an assist to
spearhead the attack for the University of New Hampshire field
hockey team, but both Stephanie Gardiner and Jocelyn Mitchell
matched her output to propel the University of Maine to Saturday
afternoon’s 6-3 victory at Memorial Field.
UNH moves to 5-4 overall and 0-1 in America East, while Maine is now 8-3, 1-0.
Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) scored the Wildcats’ other goal, and both Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire/Ireland) and Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) tallied assists. UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) was credited with five saves, all in the first half.
For Maine, Kelly Newton (goal, assist) and Lelia Sacre (two assists), also factored into multiple goals. Brittany Fleck made five saves defending the Black Bears’ goal and Sacre was credited with a defensive save.
The visitors quickly built a 2-0 goals with tallies at 3:53 and 6:58. Gardiner drove along the right end line and centered the ball down low, where Newton redirected the ball into the open cage to give Maine a 1-0 lead. The Black Bears capitalized on a succession of four penalty corners to extend the advantage to two goals. Sacre’s shot from the top of the circle was redirected by Mitchell, who was positioned in the middle of the circle, high inside the right post.
UNH answered with a goal at 9:00 to pull within 2-1. Shea drove along the left end line and pushed the ball just off the left doorstep, where Frates was positioned to drive a shot into the cage.
In the 15th minute, Frates nearly struck again. From five yards off the right post, she redirected a long hit from outside the 25 and Fleck’s diving effort pushed the ball wide of the right post.
Maine reestablished a two-goal lead, 3-1, at 23:12 on another corner in which Mitchell redirected Sacre’s hit from the top of the circle. The Black Bears quickly pushed the advantage to 4-1 with Gardiner’s goal just 36 seconds later. Newton initiated the sequence with a pass from the top-left circle down low to Gardiner, who charged the net and scored.
Courtney Veinotte, off a pass from Chelsea Wagner, scored from close range with 48 seconds remaining in the first half to give UM a 5-1 halftime lead.
UNH threatened early in the second half on a penalty corner. Lyons’ attempted pass from the top-left circle was blocked, but she immediately regained possession and fired a shot towards the far post. The ball eluded Fleck, but Sacre was in position to block aside the ball and preserve the four-goal lead.
The Wildcats did pull within 5-2 at 42:19 when they capitalized on a penalty corner. From the top-left corner, Collins Smyth swung the ball low to the opposite side, where Shea redirected a shot into the cage.
With just over eight minutes remaining, the ‘Cats generated a dangerous scoring opportunity in transition. Shea charged along the left end line and centered a pass across the goalmouth that was put into the cage by Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.). The goal was waved off, however, because the ball had struck Boody’s foot before the shot.
UNH continued its comeback bid and trimmed the deficit to 5-2 with 2:53 to play. Lyons stuck a long hit from outside the 25 on the right wing and, from a mass of people, Shea redirected the ball into the cage.
Maine responded 27 seconds later, however, on Gardiner’s second goal of the game to secure the victory.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 4 (1 p.m.) at Northeastern University. The Wildcats’ next home game is Oct. 18 (3 p.m.) vs. Boston College.