SENIORS LEAD FIELD HOCKEY TO 6-0 BLANKING OF FAIRFIELD; 'CATS CLINCH AE TOURNAMENT BERTH ON SENIOR DAY
DURHAM, N.H. - Seniors Meg Shea (Melrose, Mass.) and Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.) each recorded two goals and an assist to lead the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to a 6-0 America East victory against Fairfield University on Senior Day at Memorial Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Wildcats, who clinched a berth in the America East Championship tournament for the third consecutive season with the win, improve to 10-6 on the year, including 2-2 in America East play, while the Stags drop to 4-12 overall and 0-4 in the conference. UNH improves to 3-0 all-time versus Fairfield, which has now been outscored 8-0 in two games in Durham.
After Shea capped the first-half scoring and sent her squad to the break up 3-0 with her first goal of the game, her and Boody took over in the second half as Boody kicked off the scoring at 48:27. Sophomore Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) drove the ball in on the right and dragged the Fairfield defense and goalkeeper with her before sliding the ball to her left, where Boody knocked it in to the left side of the open net to give the Wildcats a four-goal cushion.
Shea tallied her second of the contest early in the 67th minute when she took a feed in the middle from Boody on the left, deked Fairfield goalkeeper Maddy Sposito and put the ball into the left corner of the cage to put UNH on top 5-0.
Shea returned the favor exactly a minute and a half later after her long pass from the right rolled across the goalmouth to Boody, who fired ball into the left side to make it 6-0.
Shea, who extended her point streak to 16 games, moved up both season and career lists in the UNH record book for both goals and points after her performance. With 21 goals on the season, Shea moved into a second-place tie with Katie White (2003) for tallies in a season and is just seven goals shy of the all-time record. Shea moved into second place for points in a season with 49, and is within nine points of breaking Karen Geromini's record. Shea's 40 career goals placed her into a fourth-place tie with Rebecca Provost, while her 93 points moved her past Provost for fourth all-time.
Five points is a career high for Boody, who now has 14 points on the year to surpass her previous season best of nine, which she set last year. Boody also has tallied nine points in her last five games, which is the best stretch of her career.
UNH, which outshot Fairfield, 24-4, and held a decisive 15-6 edge in penalty corners, jumped on the board at 12:18 when Frates drove in from the left side and fired a low shot that beat Fairfield goalkeeper Caitlin O'Donnell, who started the game, into the right corner.
Just 1:32 later the Wildcats widened their advantage to two with a goal from freshman Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.). After a shot from junior Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) caromed off a defender, the ball rolled to Woods, who teed it up and snuck it past O'Donnell for the 2-0 lead.
The Wildcats would grab one more score before the half on Shea's first of the game off a penalty corner early in the 29th minute. After the ball was settled off the corner, sophomore Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) blasted the ball from the top of the circle, but Shea redirected the ball right in front of the cage, sending it over the left shoulder of Sposito, who replaced O'Donnell at 16:28.
The other half of the Wildcats' senior class, Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.) and Kiera Williams (Dover, N.H.), played stellar defense in front of sophomore goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.), who posted her fourth shutout of the season with three saves.
O'Donnell stopped one shot for the Stags, while Sposito made five saves in relief.
The Wildcats return to action Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1 p.m. when they wrap up their conference slate with a tilt at the University of Albany's Alumni Field.