October 11, 2009

FIELD HOCKEY OUTLASTS MICHIGAN, 3-2, IN OVERTIME

KARA CONNOLLY

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) scored with 7:05 remaining in the second overtime session to lift the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Sunday afternoon’s 3-2 victory against the University of Michigan at Harvard University’s Jordan Field.

UNH won its third consecutive game to improve to 8-5 overall. Michigan, which entered the game with a four-game winning streak, is now 6-8.

Shea extended her point-scoring streak to 13 games with the game-winning tally. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) tallied a goal and an assist while Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) helped extend the game with a defensive save in overtime and helped end the game with an assist on the game-winning goal at 92:55.

UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) made seven saves, including one in each extra session. Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) was also credited with a defensive save in the second overtime session, just 40 seconds prior to Shea’s goal.

UM goalie Christi Barwick stopped 13 shots, including seven in the second half, two in the first OT and one in the second extra frame.

Both teams had a number of dangerous scoring opportunities beyond the 70 minutes of regulation. In the opening minute of the first 15-minute overtime session, the Wolverines generated a penalty corner. Jess Allen pushed the ball to Heather Wiley for the stop, and Paige Laytos’ shot rolled wide left.

In the sixth minute of extra time, Rausch blasted a low shot from the top-left corner of the circle that caromed off Barwick’s left leg pad and wide of the far post.

In the 79th minute, Barwick denied UNH’s Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) on a shot from the top of the circle. The ‘Cats retained possession and Frates’ redirection off a Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.) pass from the right wing sailed over the crossbar.

In the closing minute of the first OT, Michigan’s Alicia Mayer entered the circle on the right wing, but UNH’s Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) tackled the ball away to negate a dangerous scoring chance.

The teams moved to the second overtime, and Michigan threatened in the 89th minute when Zara Saydjari, unmarked in front of the cage, batted a ball out of mid-air wide left of the cage.

Shea had a shot turned aside by Barwick in both the 91st minute and 92nd minute. The Wolverines quickly countered and Mayer’s shot beat Nagengast, but Lyons was in position to stop the ball at the right post and sweep the ball aside.

Shortly thereafter, UNH advanced the ball downfield and, from the top right of the circle, Connolly sent the ball across to Shea, who swept a low shot inside the left post to end the game.

Back in the opening minutes of the game, Michigan generated a penalty corner that resulted in Meredith Way’s shot from the top of the circle bounding wide left of the cage. Moments later, Nagengast denied Mayer and Laytos off the rebound.

The Wildcats struck first to take a 1-0 lead at 10:09. Rausch, from the right wing, centered the ball in front and Boody redirected a shot into the cage.

Michigan pulled even, 1-1, at 13:12 when Vanessa Sekhon’s shot from the middle of the circle eluded the charging Nagengast. Way, with an entry pass from just outside the top of the circle, set up the tally.

In the 17th minute, UNH generated one of its many transition opportunities. Frates advanced the ball to Shea, who had snuck behind the defense. Barwick rushed from the goal line to challenge, which forced Shea to maneuver around the goalie to the left. Shea regained control but, with a Wolverine defender racing back to the front of the cage, she fired a shot wide of the far post.

New Hampshire regained the lead, 2-1, at 25:02. Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.) won possession outside the 25 and dribbled towards the right wing, where she then entered the ball to Kate Collins Smyth (Parteen, County Claire/Ireland) inside the circle. Collins Smyth’s initial shot was stopped by Barwick, but the high rebound was knocked down in front by Rausch, who then batted the ball out of mid-air high into the cage.

Rausch nearly scored again in the 28th minute, but Frates’ pass deflected off her foot before she could push the ball inside the right post. UNH generated another dangerous opportunity a minute later when Frates’ redirection of a Collins Smyth hit sailed just high of the crossbar.

The Wildcats carried that 2-1 lead into halftime despite Michigan’s slight edge in shots (8-7) and corners (3-2).

In the opening minutes of the second half, UNH was awarded a corner in which the ball was swung to the right side for a shot by Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) that was stopped by Barwick. Frates corralled the rebound in the middle of the circle, but she too was foiled by the UM goalie.

Michigan came within inches of tying the score on a penalty corner, but UNH went on a quick counterattack to generate a 3-on-1 rush in which Rausch’s shot from the left side went past the oncoming Barwick and wide right.

The Wildcats generated an offensive flurry in the 45th minute. First, Frates’ centering pass to Shea was intercepted by Barwick, then Barwick turned away Shea and also Rasuch with a left leg pad save at the right post.

Michigan called time out at 50:17, but within a minute the Wolverines surrendered another transition attack to the ‘Cats. Frates controlled a long outlet pass and advanced the ball to Emily Buda (Simsbury, Conn.) in the left side of the circle. Barwick knocked the ball free, but Buda regained possession and fired a shot wide left.

Four minutes later, Frates attacked again in transition. This time, she carried the ball on the left side and passed the ball back to the middle, where a charging Boody blasted a low shot stopped by Barwick.

The Wolverines leveled the score, 2-2, at 56:04. Adele Mills carried the ball into the circle deep on the left wing and sent a pass across to Saydjari, who gathered control and created an open shooting lane to the cage for the goal.

With 11 minutes remaining in regulation, UM’s Hannah Dawson blasted a low shot from the top left of the circle to the near post, but Nagengast was in position for the save.

Four minutes later, Frates once again led a UNH transition attack. She carried the ball into the left side and Barwick once again charged from the goal line and poked the ball free. Frates quickly regained possession and her shot was stopped by Barwick.

With three minutes remaining in regulation, a bounding ball in the UNH attack zone was hit out of the air by Boody, but the shot went wide left.

UNH recorded a 26-18 shot advantage that included a 12-4 mark in the second half. Both teams had five penalty corners.

New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 17 (1 p.m.) at Boston University. The Wildcats’ next home game is Oct. 18 (3 p.m.) against Boston College.

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