PHILADELPHIA – Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.) tied her career high of 12 saves but the 20th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team was defeated 8-4 by second-ranked University of Maryland in Saturday's season opener for both teams at the Conference Cup, which is being held at Temple University's Geasey Field.
UNH (0-1) will now play in the third-place game Sept. 1 at 1 p.m. against Ohio State University. Maryland (1-0), which led 6-2 at halftime and finished with a 29-11 shot advantage, advances to the first-place game.
Tarbell stopped four shots in the first half and eight in the second to match her personal best of 12 saves established last season. Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Kellie Joyce (South Pomfret, Vt.), Lynne Lehman (Landisburg, Pa.) and Hannah Richard (Hopkinton, N.H.) scored one goal apiece while Meg Flatley (Townsend, Mass.) finished with a career-high two assists. Bozek was also credited with a defensive save.
UMD was led offensively by Jill Witmer (two goals), Anna Dessoye (one goal, two assists) and Mieketine Hayn (1g, 2a). Brooke Cabrera played the first half and was credited with the win in a three-save effort. Natalie Hunter recorded one save and allowed two goals in the second half.
"Against a team as good as Maryland, I was pleased that we were able to make tactical changes and execute in the second half," UNH's 23rd-year head coach Robin Balducci said. "We fought back, and I'm very happy with that, as well as having four different goal scorers."
The Terrapins took a 1-0 lead at 6:18 when Tarbell denied Witmer but Maxine Fluharty scored off the rebound. Hayn extended the advantage to 2-0 at 11:10 on a drive from the right wing into the circle.
One minute later, Ali McEvoy fired a shot wide off a UMD penalty corner and Tarbell once again turned aside Witmer at 13:56 to keep the score 2-0.
UNH generated pressure in the 17th minute with a shot by Richard that was blocked by the Terps' defense followed by a Wildcats' corner in which a shot by Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) was stopped by Cabrera.
Cabrera kept the 'Cats off the scoreboard at in the 24th minute when she blocked away Joyce's shot, but New Hampshire was awarded a penalty stroke and Bozek, who scored on both penalty strokes attempted last season, struck the ball into the cage to trim the deficit to 2-1 at 23:45.
The Wildcats pressured again within a minute, but Cabrera was in position to deny Meg Carroll (Mansfield, Mass.) and preserve UMD's one-goal lead. Maryland quickly extended the advantage to 4-1 with goals 86 seconds apart by Witmer – on a redirection at 25:25 – and Katie Gerzabek in a scrum in front of the cage at 26:51.
The Terps continued to attack as goals by Witmer at 28:01 and Anna Dessoye at 29:40 made it a four-goal spurt in 4:15 to push the score to 6-1.
New Hampshire closed within 6-2 at 32:05 when Lehman redirected Pohlmeyer's bounding ball into the cage. The Wildcats earned a penalty corner in the waning second of the first half, but did not record a shot.
UMD reestablished a five-goal cushion by opening the second-half scoring on Alyssa Parker's goal at 39:47.
UNH had a quick response, however, when Joyce scored on a breakaway from close range just 18 seconds later at 40:05 to advance the score to 7-3.
Tabell made six more saves before the Wildcats called time out at 63:14. The 'Cats pressured in the 67th minute as consecutive corners generated a blast off the stick of Bozek that went wide.
Richard trimmed the deficit to 7-4 at 68:17 when she tipped in a ball from Flatley. UNH generated another scoring opportunity 30 seconds later, but Carroll was denied by Hunter.
Maryland was awarded a corner at the end of regulation and Hayley Turner converted Ali McEvoy's pass into a goal to end the game with a score of 8-4.
UNH finished with a 5-3 edge in penalty corners.