DURHAM, N.H. – Senior forward Sara Hourihan (Lynnfield, Mass.) notched her team-leading third goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough as the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer team dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to Pac-10 foe Oregon State on Friday afternoon at Lewis Fields.
With their fifth one-goal loss of the season, the Wildcats fall to 1-6-1, while the Beavers up their record to 5-2.
Trailing, 1-0, 16 minutes into the match, Hourihan was tripped up in the box by OSU goalkeeper Katie Bell when both players were going for the ball. Hourihan was awarded a penalty kick and made good on her chance when her low shot found the bottom right corner of the net to tie the game, 1-1. Hourihan is the team’s leading scorer with seven points and moved into sixth place on UNH’s all-time goals-scored list (22) and seventh on its points list (49).
The Beavers tallied the game-winner, however, when a scrum in front of the UNH net led to a goal in the 32nd minute. After the ball bounced off of multiple bodies, Brittany Galindo was able to corral it and get a shot off that was blocked by UNH goalkeeper Ally Yost (Langhorne, Pa.). The rebound skipped right back to Galindo, though, and this time she did not miss, kick the ball past Yost and into the right corner of the net for the 2-1 lead.
The game would stay that way over the course of the final 58:22, but the Wildcats played mostly good soccer in that span and generated several great chances. In the 54th minute, senior midfielder Caitlin Whelan (Weymouth, Mass.) beat one defender in the middle of the field to get to the top of the box where she unleashed a blast that sailed high over the crossbar.
UNH turned up the intensity and really started connecting in the final 20 minutes of the contest. At the start of the 81st minute, Hourihan made a run with the ball up the right sideline to the endline where she found freshman Stephanie Gilkenson (Cranston, R.I.) at the top of the box. Gilkenson fired a low shot on net that was saved by Bell. Two minutes later, sophomore Cassie Guerra (DeWitt, N.Y.) ripped a high shot from the top of the box that Bell went up to make the save on.
What might have been the Wildcats’ best chance of the day came with 1:40 left on the clock off a direct kick from Hourihan. Sophomore midfielder Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) lined up to take the kick on the far left side of the field, but ran by the ball after she faked the shot. Whelan followed by doing exactly the same thing, before Hourihan came and booted the ball, which sailed toward the net, but tailed just high and to the right.
OSU, which outshot UNH, 13-8, jumped on the board first in the eighth minute of the game when Najma Homidi took a feed from Caitlin Seeley, beat a challenging Yost and kicked it by her into the right side of the net.
Yost made six saves for the Wildcats, while Bell stopped two shots for the Beavers.
UNH loses to OSU for the third time in as many meetings, but also scored the first goal against the Beavers in the series history. The ‘Cats dropped a pair of 4-0 losses at OSU in 2004 and 2006.
The Wildcats return to action Thursday, Sept. 25 at 4 p.m. when they play host to Dartmouth at Lewis Fields.