Game 1 – Friday, August 29 – 6:30 pm – UNH vs. Indiana – Trager Stadium – Louisville, Ky. – Live stats
Game 2 – Sunday, August 31 – 1 pm – UNH at Louisville – Trager Stadium – Louisville, Ky. – Live stats
ON TAP: The University of New Hampshire field hockey team opens the 2014 season this weekend with a pair of games at the University of Louisville. First on the schedule is a matchup against Indiana (Aug. 29; 6:30 p.m.) followed by a battle vs. Louisville (Aug. 31; 1 p.m.).
THE MATCHUPS: UNH lost all three previous games in the series history against Indiana University. In the most recent matchup, the Hoosiers prevailed 3-1 at home in September 2006. One year earlier, IU won by that score in Durham. In a 2004 neutral-site game at Northwestern University, Indiana recorded a 2-1 win.
New Hampshire also has an 0-3 ledger against Louisville. The teams first met at Syracuse University in September 2008 and the Cardinals returned home with a 4-3 overtime victory. UNH lost 3-2 at home in 2010 and 3-1 at Louisville in '11.
WE'RE BACK: Head coach Robin Balducci, in her 24th year at the helm of the Wildcats, welcomes back seven starters and 14 letterwinners overall from last year's 15-7 squad that won both the America East regular-season and tournament titles en route to an NCAA tourney appearance. The Wildcats ended the year 16th in the national poll.
FOR OPENERS: UNH has a 22-16-1 overall record in season openers and that includes 4-5-1 in neutral-site games such as this year's against Indiana (at the University of Louisville). New Hampshire battled the Hoosiers once before in a season opener – IU prevailed 3-1 at UNH in 2005.
Last year, the Wildcats were defeated by defending national champion Maryland in a neutral-site matchup at Temple University. UNH has a 3-7 record the past 10 season openers with wins consecutive years vs. Lock Haven (2010) and at Ohio State (2011) as well as a 2007 victory vs. St. Louis.
HEAD OF THE CLASS: The three-member senior class of Maegan Grew (Hampton Falls, N.H.), Kellie Joyce (South Pomfret, Vt.) and Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.) is the backbone of the 2014 UNH Wildcats.
One of the team's strengths is Tarbell, the 2013 America East Goalkeeper of the Year and NFHCA Northeast Region First Team selection who led the conference in save percentage (.745) and ranked second in goals-against-average (1.85); she played all 1591:01 with a 15-7 record and six shutouts, including five straight. Tarbell's conference-only stats were astounding at 5-0 with a 0.39 GAA, .895 save percentage and four shutouts. In starting all 42 games the past two years, she has a 27-15 record with a 2.04 GAA and .736 save percentage.
Grew, an All-Conference Second Team selection in 2013, anchors New Hampshire's defensive unit with three years experience in the starting lineup. She has started all 64 games the past three seasons and has been a cornerstone of the Wildcats' defensive penalty corner unit.
Joyce, the linchpin in the midfield, was selected to the All-Conference Second Team each of the last two years and, as one of the two primary stick-stops on offensive penalty corners, also ranked second on the team in assists both years. Like Grew, she started all 64 games spanning the 2011, 2012 and 2013 seasons.
ON THE FRONTLINE: Meg Flatley (Townsend, Mass.) had a breakout sophomore campaign a year ago with team highs in both goals (16) and points (38) – that point total ranks ninth on the program's single-season list. She was both a consistent and explosive goal scorer with a goal in 12 of 22 games, including four multiple-goal efforts. In the America East conference, Flatley ranked third in goals per game and fourth in points per game en route to being feted to the All-Conference First Team.
MADE OF GRANITE: Five student-athletes on the 2014 roster hail from New Hampshire. They are Molly Heaney (East Kingston), Katie Lawson (Bow), Brittany Marshall (Hopkinton), Lindsey Nerbonne (Bow) and Grew (Hampton Falls).
SCOUTING THE HOOSIERS: Indiana University has 16 returning letterwinners, including 2013 All-Big Ten selections Audra Heilman (First Team) and Sydney Supica (Second Team), from last year's team that went 9-10 overall and 1-5 in conference games. Heilman and Supica were joined by Maggie Olson on the 2014 Big Ten Field Hockey Players to Watch List.
Heilman led IU in goals (10), assists (12) and points (32) while Supica ranked second in both goals (nine) and points (22) as well as first in defensive saves (five). Olson played all of the 1335:47 in goal and her stats included a 3.03 GAA, .692 save percentage and three shutouts.
SCOUTING THE CARDINALS: The University of Louisville – now a member of the ACC – finished No. 15 in the 2013 national poll with a 15-5 record that marked the program's highest win total since 2001. The Cardinals earned a share of the Big East regular-season title with a 6-1 league record and went undefeated at home (10-0).
Eight starters return from that squad and that includes All-Conference honorees Alyssa Voelmle (back), Sydney King (goalkeeper) and Elisa Garcia (midfield) as well as Rookie of the Year Shannon Sloss (forward).
Voelmle is a three-time all-conference honoree who also contributes to the offense; she scored a team-high 11 goals and led the team in points (27) in '13. King played every second defending the cage and her numbers included a 1.43 GAA and .761 save percentage with four shutouts. Garcia ranked second in assists (nine) as part of her 15 points while Sloss ranked second in both goals (10) and points (22).