– In a matchup between the high-powered offense of the
University of New Hampshire and the lockdown defense of the
University at Albany, defense prevailed as the 17th-ranked Albany
field hockey team upended UNH, 3-0, in an America East semifinal
matchup at UA’s Alumni Turf Field on Friday afternoon.
UNH, the fourth seed of the America East Championship tournament, ends its season with a 12-7 overall record. The Wildcats, who won seven of its last eight regular-season games, tallied the most wins in a season since 2002, when the ‘Cats went 12-8.
Albany improves to 13-4 and advances to Saturday’s championship game.
Meg Shea (Melrose,
Mass.) and Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) were
UNH's selections to the All-Tournament Team.
Albany controlled play early in the first half, as UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) turned aside shots by Christina Patrick in the fourth, fifth and eighth minutes, and another by Tegan Brown in the ninth minute. UA generated another dangerous scoring opportunity in the 11th minutes, when Brown hit the post.
UNH recorded its first shot in the 15th minute, when a Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.) shot ricocheted off the post.
The game was scoreless at halftime with UA holding the edge in both shots (7-4) and penalty corners (5-1).
Albany took a 1-0 lead at 37:38 on a goal by Inge Baijens, who dribbled in from the right wing and hit a reverse-stick shot into the cage.
UNH called time out at 47:31, but the Great Danes continued to generate pressure, was awarded a penalty corner in the 52nd minute and extended their lead to 2-0 at 52:09 on Brown’s shot from the top of the circle.
Nagengast again turned away shots by Patrick in the 55th and 58th minutes, but Patrick struck at 59:35 to give UA a 3-0 lead as the Great Danes broke open a close game with goals 7:26 apart.
UNH’s Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) fired a shot wide in the 65th minute and registered another shot wide with two minutes remaining.
Nagengast finished with six saves. UA starting goalie Christine Hoffman played the first half and was credited with one save. Kristi Troch did not record a second-half save in preserving the shutout.
New Hampshire generated a 4-1 edge in second-half corners, but Albany tallied the 7-3 shot advantage.
The end of the ’09 season also marks the end of UNH careers for the senior class of Leah Boody (Amesbury, Mass.), Cally Cooke (Newburyport, Mass.), Meg Shea and Kiera Williams (Dover, N.H.).
Shea, the 2009 America East Offensive Player of the Year, had her school-record point-scoring streak end at 18 games. She finishes the year with 23 goals and nine assists for 55 points to rank second on UNH’s single-season list of superlatives in both goals and points. Shea is third in career points (99) and fourth in career goals (44).
Both Cooke and Williams were four-year starters on UNH’s defensive unit, and both were America East All-Conference Second Team honorees during their Wildcat career.
Boody had a breakout senior year in which she ranked fourth on the team in both goals (seven) and points (17).