DURHAM, N.H. – Seniors Sara Hourihan (Lynnfield, Mass.), Michelle Sheehan (Belmont, Mass.) and Caitlin Whelan (Weymouth, Mass.) all scored goals, and fellow senior Nikki Golding (Milton, Mass.) posted her first shutout of the season as the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer team breezed to a 3-0 conference victory against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County on Thursday afternoon at Lewis Fields.

Caitlin Whelan

The Wildcats, who have now won three of their past four games, improve to 4-8-1 on the season and 3-1-0 in America East play, while the Retrievers fall to 2-12-0 overall and 1-3-0 in the conference.

UNH controlled play from the start, breaking through on the scoreboard in the 37th minute. The service off of a corner by sophomore Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) was deflected to Hourihan on the right side of the box when UMBC goalkeeper Christine Bacinski went up to grab the ball but could not bring it in. Hourihan capitalized when she booted the ball into the left side of the net for her team-leading sixth goal of the season.

The Wildcats carried that momentum into the second half when they widened their advantage to two goals just 54 seconds into the period. Junior Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) chased after a ball down the right side and was challenged by Bacinski, who slid in an attempt to knock the ball away. Kaplan made a move around the keeper and kicked the ball to the endline where she served the ball into the box for Sheehan, who put her head on it and drove it into the right side of the vacant net for her fourth of the year. Kaplan earned her team-leading sixth assist of the season on the play.

Just over six minutes later, UNH struck again when Kaplan’s blast from the right side of the box slammed off the right side of the crossbar and caromed into a crowd where Whelan came up with it on the left side and found the back of the net, beating a diving Bacinski to make it 3-0.

UMBC picked up its play in the final 20 minutes, but could not capitalize on any of its corners or an empty net chance it had that was cleared away by sophomore Marika Posehn (Duncan, British Columbia). Despite the lopsided score, the Retrievers held a 7-2 advantage in corners, including 6-0 in the second half.

Golding made four saves to improve to 3-0-0 versus America East opponents this season and is now a perfect 7-0-0 against conference foes in her career. Bacinski made four stops for UMBC, while Mo Van Vlerah, who came on midway through the second half, stopped the one shot she faced.

The Wildcats, who outshot UMBC 18-12, including 10-2 in the first half, improve to 5-1-0 all-time against the Retrievers. UNH has won five straight against UMBC and has not allowed a goal in the last 280:33 of play between the two squads.

The ‘Cats return to action Sunday, Oct. 12 at 1 p.m. when they play host to the University of Vermont at Lewis Fields. UNH will hold its annual NIKE Youth Day following the game. Free posters will be available and a post-game autograph session will be held with the team.

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