PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Freshmen Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) scored second-half goals to erase a second-half deficit, but the University of New Hampshire field hockey lost 4-3 in overtime to 17th-ranked Rutgers University on Sunday afternoon at RU Stadium Complex.
UNH, which has lost each of the last two games in overtime and is 1-3 in games decided beyond regulation this season, is now 4-6 overall, including 0-5 against nationally-ranked teams. Rutgers improved to 9-1.
With the Wildcats trailing 3-1 at halftime, Frates and Rausch scored goals 75 seconds apart to lift the ‘Cats into a 3-3 tie. Frates scored against RU goalkeeper Lauren Decerbo at 52:41 in a one-on-one breakaway situation that was set up by Sarah Craigue (Concord, N.H.), who recorded her team-leading 16th point of the season with the assist. Another UNH breakaway led to a scrum in the circle in which Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire, Ireland) pushed the ball to Rausch for the game-tying goal at 53:56.
The Scarlet Knights called time out at that juncture but the Wildcats continued to pressure, and that led to shots by Rausch and Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) that had to be turned aside by Decerbo.
RU generated three penalty corners and six shots in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but UNH goalkeeper Jenna Lehman (Kingston, Pa.) made two exceptional saves in that span to keep the score tied and force the extra session.
Rutgers ended the game just 61 seconds into overtime, at 71:01, when Amy Lewis weaved through the defense, tapped the ball to Katie Feely and received a return pass that she one-timed into the cage.
Lehman finished with five saves, including four in the second half. Decerbo made eight stops with six coming in the second half. Neither goalie was credited with a save in overtime.
“Despite the fact that we were down 3-1 at the half, I was happy with the way we were playing,” UNH head coach Robin Balducci said. “They had very few penetrating chances but executed on their corners.
“We worked very hard to come back and tie it,” she added. “Craigue was an excellent leader for us in the second half and Frates had a great game. Jenn was solid yet again. In general, our quality of play was very good today.”
The home team took a 1-0 lead at 2:20 when Jessika Hoh scored off a rebound. Shea scored her sixth goal of the season at 10:12 on a breakaway goal in which she corralled Frates’ outlet pass and scored.
Lewis put Rutgers back in front, 2-1, at 16:39 by capitalizing on the second corner of the game. Another corner led to Melissa Bowman’s tally at 21:46.
New Hampshire returns to action at home Oct. 3 (4 p.m.) with the America East conference opener against Boston University.