DURHAM, N.H. – Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) recorded a goal and an assist and Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) tallied two assists to lift the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 4-1 non-conference victory against Providence College at Memorial Field.
UNH is now undefeated through four games to match the best start by the Wildcats since the 1999 team also started 4-0. PC moved to 0-4 this season.
Frates and Deck, whose two assists are a personal best, led a balanced New Hampshire offense. Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.), who scored for the third consecutive game, Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) and Tori Welch (East Hampstead, N.H.) scored the other goals and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) was also credited with an assist.
UNH starting goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) was credited with five saves and surrendered one goal in 66:11 of action. Renee Bernier (Wolfeboro, N.H.) entered with 3:49 remaining in the second half to end Nagengast's streak of consecutive minutes played at 1635 minutes, 33 seconds. Bernier did not face a shot on goal.
Ashlyn Hudson scored a first-half goal for the Friars. Kathi Weidman played the initial 44:44 and stopped three of the six shots on goal. Shannon DiStefano made two saves and allowed one goal in 25:16 of relief action.
UNH, which has scored the first goal every game this season, took a 1-0 lead just 77 seconds into the game. Following a PC infraction in its attacking zone, Lyons lofted the ball through midfield and it bounced past a Friars' defender to Frates, who corralled it at the top-right of the circle. After a little stick work, Frates sent the ball towards the far post and Welch redirected it into the open cage for her second goal of the year.
The 'Cats generated another dangerous scoring opportunity in the 10th minute on a penalty corner when Lyons, from the top of the circle, lifted a shot just wide of the left post.
Moments later, PC sustained pressure for a three-minute stretch in which it created three penalty corners and another opportunity in transition that resulted in Hudson's shot just off the left post being blocked aside by Nagengast.
Midway through the opening stanza, Rausch was set up deep on the left side and she swept a backhanded shot that rolled across the goalmouth and wide of the far post
One minute later at the other end of the field, Hudson initiated a Friars' corner to the top of the circle, where Kelly Grogan sent a return pass to Hudson and Nagengast was forced to make a right legpad kick save to preserve the one-goal lead.
UNH capitalized on a penalty corner at 23:59 to take a 2-0 lead. Rausch initiated the scoring sequence with a hit to Deck at the top-right. Deck, in turn, pushed the ball across the top of the circle and Connolly fired a low shot through traffic inside the left post.
Providence, which had not scored in its previous three games, trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 30:27. Nagengast denied Brittany Ross at the right post, but that led to a corner for the Friars. The UNH goalie stopped Ashley Mulkey's initial shot from the top of the circle, but Hudson corralled the ball at the left post and pushed a shot into the open cage.
The Wildcats opened strong in the second half and were awarded a penalty corner in the third minute. Rausch once again initiated the corner, and this time she received a return pass just off the left post but Weidman was in position to make the save.
UNH then converted another corner less than one minute later into a 3-1 advantage at 38:46. Rausch put the ball in play to the top-right side for Deck, who moved the ball across the top for Lyons, whose low blast went inside the right post.
With 23 minutes left on the clock, Providence generated a flurry inside the circle that started when Hillary Anderson's initial shot from the top-right side was blocked down by Nagengast. The Friars moved the ball down low and into the cage, but it ricocheted off a Friars' leg and therefore deemed no goal.
UNH took a 4-1 lead at 52:14 when Rausch's long hit through midfield sent Frates 1-on-1 with DiStefano. Frates pulled the ball to her right to shift around the charging goalie and send a shot into the open cage.
DiStefano made two impressive saves in the last 10 minutes of the game, both with the blocker against rising shots off Lyons' stick on penalty corners.
New Hampshire returns to action next weekend at the Terrapin Invitational. The Wildcats play host Maryland on Sept. 11 (11 a.m.) and then American University on Sept. 12 (12 p.m.). UNH's next home game is Sept. 15 (6 p.m.) vs. Harvard.