DURHAM, N.H. – Brooke Duchaney (Hampton Falls, N.H.) scored in the 89th minute to lift the University of New Hampshire women's soccer team within one goal, but the University of Massachusetts held off the Wildcats to prevail 2-1 in the 2011 season opener for both teams Tuesday afternoon at Lewis Fields.
UNH controlled play in the opening minutes of action, which produced an opportunity deep on the right wing for Meghan Ledwith (Yardley, Pa.) but her low shot to the near post was enveloped by UMass goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon (nine saves).
In the 10th minute, the Wildcats generated another dangerous scoring opportunity when Monique Lamotte (Tampa, Fla.), from the center of the field, played the ball wide left to Chelsea Kuss (Warners, N.Y.). Kuss was challenged strongly by a UMass defender in the box and was dispossessed to allow Gordon to corral the loose ball.
One minute later, Alyssa Michel (Bellingham, Wash.) struck a long service along the right side that was tracked down by Kuss, whose service into the box didn't connect with a pair of teammates.
The Minutewomen took a 1-0 lead at 17:33. On the right side, Cecilia Jensen struck a through ball from 40 yards past the defense that sprung Julie Morrissey for a 2-v-the goalkeeper breakaway at the top-right corner of the penalty area. Morrissey settled the ball and tucked a shot past charging UNH goalie Erica Correa (Cheshire, Conn.; two saves) inside the far post.
In the 30th minute, UNH's Drea Nogueira (New Bedford, Mass.) played the ball from the right corner back to open space on the near sideline. The oncoming Kelly Spencer (Exeter, N.H.) right-footed a low shot from just outside the top-right corner of the box to the far post, but Gordon made a diving save to preserve the one-goal lead.
The shots were even, 4-4, at halftime as UMass scored on its only shot on goal while all four of New Hampshire's shots were stopped by Gordon.
In the 71st minute, Erin McGaffigan blasted a low shot from 20 yards on the top-left side, but Correa was in position to make the save.
The Minutewomen extended the advantage to 2-0 at 84:41. Deanna Colarossi's initial shot from the top of the box was stopped by Correa, but the rebound went directly to Jen Houtmann on the left side and she deposited the ball into the open net from 13 yards.
UNH provided late drama when Duchaney scored with 1:38 remaining. From the top of the box, Lamotte struck the ball towards goal and Duchaney, from 10 yards, redirected a header past Gordon.
The 'Cats continued to press in the closing minute, but UMass kept them at bay to secure the win.
UNH recorded a 12-10 overall shot advantage, including a 10-4 margin in shots on goal. Corner kicks were even, 2-2.
New Hampshire returns to action Aug. 26 (4 p.m.) against American University in a neutral-site game at the University of Vermont. The Wildcats' next home game is Aug. 28 vs. Charleston Southern. Game time at Lewis Fields is 3 p.m.