October 3, 2010

CONNOLLY'S OVERTIME GOAL LIFTS FIELD HOCKEY PAST NORTHEASTERN, 2-1

KARA CONNOLLY
CASEY POHLMEYER

BOSTONKara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) scored 4:06 into overtime to give the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to a 2-1 non-conference victory against Northeastern University on Sunday afternoon at Sweeney Field.

UNH, winners of three consecutive games and five of its last six, improves to 9-3 overall. NU is now 5-6.

Following early pressure by Northeastern in the overtime session, the Wildcats were awarded a penalty corner at 73:59. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) triggered the ball into play and the initial shot by Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) was blocked by the NU defense. Connolly collected the ball, however, and scored off that rebound to end the game, 2-1, at 74:06.

UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) finished with two saves in both the first and second halves for a game total of four, as did NU counterpart Lizzie Priest.

"The game was fairly even, as the statistics show," 20th-year head coach Robin Balducci said. "I am very happy with our ability to come back today and play well after an emotional conference win Friday at Maine."

The Huskies carried play early in the game, beginning in the opening minute when Nicky Graham's shot was stopped by Nagengast. NU generated a corner in the third minute and another in the eighth that led to shots by Annie Clayman and Kaela Barker, but both bids went wide of the cage.

The home team took a 1-0 lead at 10:16 on Clayman's first goal of the season – a redirection off a pass from Graham from the left sideline.

The Wildcats immediately responded with pressure that eventually manufactured the game-tying goal. They were awarded a penalty corner at 11:47 in which Rausch initiated the sequence and Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) shot wide. Moments later, a bid by Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) was knocked aside by Priest.

UNH kept pressure in the offensive zone and received another corner at 12:34. Rausch again triggered the ball into play and this time Lyons' shot was blocked by the NU defense. Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) corralled the ball, however, and fired the ball into the cage to tie the score, 1-1, at 12:40 with her second goal of the year.

The 'Cats had two more corners the remainder of the first half that resulted in a shot wide by Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.) and a blocked shot off Lyons' stick.

Northeastern was awarded an untimed penalty corner at the conclusion of the first half but Nagengast denied Clayman to keep the score 1-1 heading into halftime.

In the scoreless second half, NU recorded a slight edge in shots (6-5) while the corners were even, 2-2. One of the Huskies' more dangerous scoring chances of the half occurred shortly after halftime when Graham's shot ricocheted off the post. The Wildcats were awarded a penalty corner with just under eight minutes left in regulation and Bozek's bid was turned aside by Priest. It led to another corner, however, and Lyons' shot went wide of the cage.

NU called time out and began to regain momentum. Graham sent a shot wide in the 65th minute and, off a penalty corner in the 67th minute, Barker's shot was blocked away by Nagengast, who also denied Carolyn Malloy with just under three minutes to play in regulation.

The Huskies created the first scoring opportunity in the extra session when they earned a penalty corner at 71:19. Crystal Poland fired wide of the cage, however, and then missed the target again in the 73rd minute.

NU finished the game with slight edges in both shots (16-14) and corners (8-7).

New Hampshire returns to action at home Oct. 6 against intrastate rival Dartmouth College. Game time at Memorial Field is 7 p.m. The Wildcats are also home next weekend – UNH's Homecoming Weekend – against the University of Vermont (Oct. 9; 5 p.m.).

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