CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) recorded a goal and two assists to propel the ninth-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team to a 3-0 lead and Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) broke a 3-3 tie with 10:01 remaining in regulation, but eighth-ranked University of Michigan rallied for a 5-4 win Saturday afternoon in an NCAA first-round game at the University of North Carolina's Henry Stadium.
UNH, which earned NCAA tournament automatic qualifier status as the America East conference's tourney champion, ends the season at 17-5. It marked the Wildcats' ninth overall NCAA tournament appearance and first since the 2000 season.
U-M, which earned an at-large bid out of the Big Ten as the regular-season titlist and tourney runner-up, is now 15-6 and advances to play top-seeded North Carolina in Sunday's quarterfinal game.
Rausch increased her UNH single-season point record total to 62 with her four-point effort. With her goal, Frates climbed into a tie for second on that list at 57 points with Karen Geromini (1986). Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) matched her personal best of two assists for the second consecutive game.
Wildcats' goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) made four of her five saves in the first half, including a stop of a Bryn Bain penalty stroke with 3:30 remaining in the first half to preserve UNH's three-goal lead. U-M goalie Haley Jones played the final 46:33 of the game to earn the win with a three-save effort with one goal allowed. Wolverines' starting goalie Christi Barwick exited after surrendering the third goal; she was credited with three saves.
Michigan was led offensively by Rachael Mack (three goals), Axelle Wouters (goal, assist) and Aline Fobe (two assists).
New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead at 12:30 when it converted one of its four first-half penalty corners into a goal. Rausch struck the insertion pass to the top of the circle, where battery-mate Deck stopped the ball and Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) hit a low shot into the cage for her second goal in as many games and fifth of the season.
The Wildcats extended the advantage to 2-0 just 53 seconds later – at 13:23 – when Rausch scored her 26th goal of the season deep on the right wing after she received an entry pass from Kellie Joyce (South Pomfret, Vt.).
UNH capitalized on another corner to build a 3-0 lead at 23:27. Rausch once again was the push on the end line and sent the ball to the top of the circle for Deck, who swung the ball to the top-left side, where Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) sent a low shot into the cage to score a goal for the second consecutive game.
U-M pressured in the 28th minute, when Jess Allen was denied by Nagengast and then fired a shot wide.
The Wolverines scored with 10 seconds left in the first half to trim the deficit to 3-1. From the right sideline near the 25, Wouters struck a bounding ball towards through traffic and Mack redirected a shot into the cage at the left post.
The designated home team continued its comeback when Eileen Brandes scored on a shot from the left wing on a penalty corner at 38:56.
Michigan pressured again in the 42nd minute, when Kim Sheaffer led a 2-on-0 break down the right wing. She cut diagonally to the near post but her attempted centering pass was blocked aside on a head-first diving effort by Nagengast, who charged from the line to the middle of the circle.
UNH took its timeout at 47:35 and one minute later Frates stole the ball near midfield and attacked down the right wing in a 2-on-2 situation. Frates sent the ball to the middle of the circle, where Rausch, with her back to the cage, redirected a shot that was stopped by Jones.
The Wildcats threatened again in the 51st minute on a penalty corner, but Bozek's direct shot was turned aside by Jones.
U-M leveled the score, 3-3, at 54:40 on a Wildcat turnover inside its defensive 25. On a restart, an attempted lifted pass was knocked down and controlled by Wouters at the top of the circle and she blasted a shot into the upper-right corner of the cage.
UNH, which hadn't lost in 16 games this season when taking a 1-0 lead or in 13 games when leading at halftime, regained the lead, 4-3, at 59:59. On a restart on the defensive end of the field along the left sideline, Maegan Grew (Hampton Falls, N.H.) struck a low pass that Frates collected 35 yards from the U-M cage in the middle of the field. Frates maneuvered to the top-right side of the circle, then pulled the ball wide right around Jones, who charged from the line and went into a slide, and hit a low shot towards the near post that ricocheted off a Wolverine's defender into the cage.
Mack then scored goals 1 minutes, 43 seconds apart to give Michigan its first lead of the game. She evened the score, 4-4, at 65:03 when she was positioned at the right post and redirected Emy Guttman's pass across the goalmouth into the goal. Mack scored her third goal of the game when she lifted a shot from the middle of the circle over Nagengast into the cage at 66:46.
The Wolverines kept the 'Cats at bay the rest of the way by not allowing a shot in the final 3:14 of regulation.
UNH entered the 2011 NCAA Division I Field Hockey Championship with a 3-0 record against the tournament field and a 2-1 record against Big Ten schools.
With 17 wins, this New Hampshire squad tied the benchmark for wins in a season established by the 1986 national runner-up team. This year's team broke the single-season records for goals (78), assists (61) and points (217).
The end of the 2011 season marks the end of UNH field hockey careers for the six-member class of Deck, Frates, Lyons, Nagengast, Rausch and Jess Sweeney (Accord, N.Y.).
Frates recorded 23 goals and 11 assists for 57 points in 2011; the 23 goals ranks third on UNH's list of single-season superlatives. In 81 career games, she amassed 52 goals and 35 assists for 139 points; those numbers rank No. 2 in points, No. 3 in goals and tied for first in assists. Frates' career accolades include NFHCA All-America Second Team (2010), NFHCA Northeast Region First Team (twice), America East Offensive Player of the Year (2011) and three-time All-Conference First Team.
Rausch tallied 26 goals and 10 assists for 62 points in 2011; the goal total is one less than the record established by Karen Geromini in 1986. In 78 career games, she compiled 51 goals and 34 assists for 136 points, which ranks fourth, second and third on UNH's respective career leaderboards. Rausch's career accolades include NFHCA Northeast Region Second Team (2010) and America East All-Conference First Team (2011).
Lyons recorded eight goals and eight assists for 24 points, as well as one defensive save, in her senior season; the eight assists marked a personal single-season best, while the point total was one less than her 2010 output. In 78 career games, she compiled 22 goals and 14 assists for 58 points. Lyons' career accolades include NFHCA Northeast Region Second Team and America East All-Conference First Team (2010, 2011).
Deck moved into a tie for the team lead in assists with Saturday's two-assist effort, which increased her season total to 11; that was also her point total. In 81 career games, she tallied 27 points, all on assists. Deck's collegiate accolades include NFHCA All-Academic Squad (2010), NFHCA Northeast Region Second Team and three-time selection to the America East All-Conference Second Team.
Nagengast went 16-5 with a x.xx GAA, .xxx save percentage and four shutouts in 2011. In 66 career games, she finished at 42-19 with a X.XX GAA and .xxx save percentage with 10 shutouts. On UNH's career leaderboard, those numbers rank third in wins, fourth in minutes (4313:36) and fifth in games played. Nagengast's accolades include NFHCA All-Academic Squad (2009, 2010) and America East All-Conference Second Team (2011).
Sweeney, in three years as a Wildcat, played in 14 games (including eight as a senior).