FIELD HOCKEY BLANKS PACIFIC, 1-0
BOXSCORE

DURHAM, N.H.
  – Kara Napolitano (Waltham, Mass.) scored on a penalty corner with 40 seconds remaining in the first half and Margaux Shute (Norridgewock, Maine) recorded her second consecutive shutout with five saves to lead the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Saturday afternoon’s 1-0 non-conference victory against University of the Pacific at Memorial Field.

UNH improved to 4-3 overall and has a 3-1 record in games decided by one goal. Pacific fell to 1-5 with its third consecutive loss.

The Wildcats were awarded their third penalty corner of the first half with just under a minute remaining. Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.) initiated the goal-scoring sequence with the push from the left side to Shauna Sellenger (Londonderry, N.H.), who stopped the ball at the top of the circle, hesitated and rolled the ball to the left wing. Sophie Ostroski (Intervale, N.H.) then fired a shot into the middle of the circle that was tipped by Napolitano inside the right post.

The ‘Cats opened the second half with another dangerous opportunity on a penalty corner, but this time the shot off the stick of Johanna Stemmler (Leimen, Germany) from the top of the circle rolled wide of the left post.

One minute later at the other end of the field, Pacific almost pulled even on the Tigers’ second corner of the game. After Katy McDonough’s hit and Erica Nestle’s stop, Ashley Niccom blasted a low shot through traffic that caromed off the right post.

The visitors threatened again in the 54th minute on another corner opportunity when Sasha Larsen lifted a shot that was turned aside by Shute’s right arm pad. UNH countered with a transition attack in which Sellenger, at the top of the circle, redirected the ball around Pacific goalie Lauren Woods (five saves), but too long for Jen Mooney (Manchester, N.H.) to track down on the left wing.

With possession in UNH territory, the Tigers called time out at 63:04. Moments later, Shute’s attempt to clear a dangerous ball was intercepted by the Tigers’ Nestle at the top of the circle. Nestle quickly fired a shot towards the cage, but Shute stacked her pads to preserve the Wildcats’ one-goal advantage.

UNH maintained possession in Pacific’s defensive end of the field in the final minute of regulation to secure the victory.

In the first half, Pacific controlled play early with Rachel Taylor and Kedibone Leubane on the attack inside the circle. New Hampshire withstood that flurry and tested Woods at the other end of the field on Brooke Bercari’s (Bordentown, N.J.) shot from the top of the circle on a corner with eight minutes elapsed.

UNH was awarded a penalty stroke at 21:36 following a quick counterattack in which Mooney raced unmarked down the right wing and cut to the middle of the circle, where she was fouled. Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) was denied by the post on her stroke.

Shute, who has played all 494:55 in goal for the Wildcats this season, extended her shutout streak to 144:57 dating back to last Saturday’s game against nationally-ranked University of Virginia.

This is the first back-to-back shutouts for Shute as a Wildcat. UNH had not recorded consecutive shutouts since 2002, when the ‘Cats held Providence College and the University of Vermont scoreless.

Statistically, the game was even. Both teams recorded five shots in the first half and six in the second, and both teams finished with four corners.

New Hampshire returns to action Sept. 16 at home against College of the Holy Cross. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.
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