Shauna Sellenger

Sam Geary (Norwood, Mass.) scored a goal at 100:00 to lift the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Saturday night’s 2-1 America East victory against interstate rival University of Maine at Memorial Field.

UNH improved to 5-1 at home this season, as well as 2-1 in games decided beyond regulation, and is now 7-6 overall with a 1-1 mark in America East. Maine, which had won three straight games in the series vs. the Wildcats, lost its fourth consecutive game to fall to 4-8, 0-2.

With the score tied 1-1, UNH was awarded a penalty corner in the closing seconds of the second 15-minute overtime session. On the untimed corner, Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.) executed the push to the top-right wing, where Kiera Williams (Dover, N.H.) stopped the ball and made a crossing pass to Geary, who swept a low shot inside the right post to end the game.

UNH goalkeeper Margaux Shute (Norridgewock, Maine) made six saves, including one in each of the extra sessions. Her counterpart, Maine’s Rebecca Giroux, was credited with 12 saves; she stopped one shot in the first OT and two in the second.

Following a scoreless first half in which UNH recorded a 6-5 edge in shots and a 5-1 advantage in penalty corners, Maine took a 1-0 lead by converting on one of its three second-half corners. Nicole Emery initiated the scoring sequence with the push to Erin Reusch at the top of the circle. Reusch then swung the ball to the left wing, where Kristen Healy fired a shot that was redirected into the cage by Jackie D’Amato, who was positioned near the right post, at 52:36.

UNH called time out at 59:42 and began to build momentum. On a corner at 60:30, Brooke Bercari (Bordentown, N.J.) blasted a low line drive directly off the stop but Giroux was in position for the save. One minute later, Giroux denied Shauna Sellenger’s (Londonderry, N.H.) bid from the right wing as well as the shot off the rebound by Megan Shea (Melrose, Mass.).

Maine responded by generating a corner in which Healy’s drive was tipped wide right by Amy Zdrojesky at 63:44. The Black Bears then called time out at 64:46 in an effort to neutralize another potential momentum swing.

Sellenger then set up UNH’s first tally with a steal deep in Maine territory that resulted in a shot and then a penalty stroke for the Wildcats with 2:48 remaining in regulation. Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.), who did not convert on the Wildcats’ only other penalty stroke this season, fired a low shot to the left side to tie the game, 1-1, at 67:12.

In the first overtime session, the Black Bears generated a corner with 2:28 elapsed but did not register a shot. Less than three minutes later, UNH created a dangerous opportunity in transition, but Shea’s shot from the right wing bounded wide of the far post. Soon thereafter, Geary’s chance from the right side was blocked wide by the Black Bears’ defense.

Maine then threatened with a shot by Maire Dineen and another by Zdrojesky on a penalty corner in the 82nd minute.

The ball quickly moved to the other end, where Sellenger was denied by Giroux and then off the rebound her shot eluded the goalie but was turned aside by Healy.

In the second OT, Maine’s Kim MacDonald maneuvered to the middle of the circle but was stopped by Shute.

On UNH’s 12th corner of the night, Bercari nearly ended the game at 93:29 when her shot from the top-right wing caromed off the left post. The Wildcats were denied twice more by Giroux before converting on their corner as time expired.

The ‘Cats finished the game with a 24-14 shot advantage as well as a 13-6 edge in corners.

This game continued the trend of close battles between UNH and Maine – seven of the last eight games have been decided by one goal; four of the last six meetings have gone into overtime; and five of the last six games at Memorial Field have needed OT to determine the victor.

New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 10 (6 p.m.) at intrastate rival Dartmouth College. The Wildcats’ next home game is Oct. 20 (1 p.m.) against America East newcomer Fairfield University.
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