COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of New Hampshire field hockey team recorded the statistical advantage in both shots, 10-9, and penalty corners, 8-4, but was defeated 5-2 by 20th-ranked American University in Sunday afternoon's action at the Terrapin Invitational.
UNH, which entered the Terrapin Invitational with a 4-0 record, is now 4-2 following consecutive losses to nationally-ranked teams; the Wildcats were bested by second-ranked and host University of Maryland on Saturday. American improved to 3-2.
"I thought we played better than the final score indicates," 20th-year head coach Robin Balducci stated. "We were a little soft defensively in our circle and we didn't finish in our offensive end. Particularly on corners, which is one of our strengths."
The Eagles scored three times in a five-minute span in the second half to extend a 2-1 edge into a 5-1 cushion. Constanza Palma ignited the spurt with a penalty-corner goal at 47:22 and Lotte van de Mierop scored 74 seconds later to give AU a 4-1 lead. Jaclyn Anspach found the back of the cage at 52:05 to close the flurry.
UNH's Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) scored at 61:22 to trim the deficit to 5-2.
"Whit was awesome again today and all weekend for us," Balducci said. "She just continues to be an impact on our game."
The 'Cats were awarded a penalty corner with just under seven minutes remaining, but the AU defense blocked aside a shot from the top of the circle by Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.). UNH generated two more corners in the closing minutes, including an untimed one at the end of regulation in which Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) lifted a shot high of the cage.
Starting goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) played the initial 61:22 of the game and was credited with two saves. Renee Bernier (Wolfeboro, N.H.) went the rest of the way and did not face a shot on goal.
Anne Van Erp led American's balanced attack with two assists. Hannah Weitzman earned the win with four saves and one goal allowed in 55:41 of action. Stephanie Burry played the last 14:19; she was not credited with a save and surrendered one goal.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead at 8:03 on a goal by Melissa Casale, but Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.), with the assistance of Tori Welch (East Hampstead, N.H.), leveled the score at 1-1 just 43 seconds later with her third goal of the season.
Nagengast kept the score deadlocked by turning aside a penalty-corner shot off the stick of Van Erp in the 24th minute, but the Eagles earned another corner and regained the lead, 2-1, on a goal by Kirstin Gebhart at 24:20.
With just under eight minutes remaining in the first half, the 'Cats generated another corner but a shot by Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) was stopped by Weitzman. New Hampshire had two more scoring opportunities in the closing minutes. Bozek was once again denied by Weitzman with 40 seconds on the clock and the AU goalie also stopped the shot by Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) off the rebound.
UNH trailed by that one-goal margin at halftime despite holding the edge in both shots (7-4) and corners (5-2).
New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 15 at home against Harvard University. Game time at Memorial Field is 6 p.m.