ORONO, Maine – Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) scored two late second-half goals, including one with just five seconds remaining in regulation, to lift the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to a 3-2 victory against the University of Maine in Friday afternoon's America East matchup at the Maine Field Hockey Complex.
UNH, which has won two consecutive games and four of its last five, improved to 8-3 overall and is 1-0 in America East. Maine fell to 7-3, 0-1.
"We were down 2-0 at the half, playing okay," UNH 20th-year head coach Robin Balducci said. "We came out after halftime and really started taking control of the game, settled into play and chipped away at it. We played with grit and toughness. In a tough league game against a good and physical team, I'm thrilled with our ability to come back and the bottom line is we got a 'W.'"
Frates, who matched her personal best of two goals for the second straight game, also recorded an assist to finish with a career-high five points. UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) finished with a career-high 11 saves.
The Wildcats trailed 2-0 when Frates' long pass from near midfield found Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) just outside the circle. Rausch carried the ball into the circle and shot the ball past Maine goalkeeper Brittany Fleck (eight saves) into the cage to trim the deficit to one goal, 2-1, at 47:44.
Frates then scored the equalizer, 2-2, at 66:05 when she dribbled the ball into the circle, eluded a pair of Black Bears' defenders and then also beat Fleck.
UNH was awarded its fourth penalty corner of the second half – seventh of the game – in the final minute of regulation. Rausch initiated the sequence by putting the ball in play. Following a couple of fake shots near the top of the circle, Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) struck the ball towards the right post and Frates redirected the ball near side to give the 'Cats a 3-2 lead at 69:55.
In the first half, Maine took a 1-0 lead at 24:16 on a goal by Jocelyn Mitchell, who struck again with 1:20 remaining in the first half when she tipped in Stephanie Gardiner's shot to give the home team a two-goal advantage.
New Hampshire concludes its stretch of five consecutive road games Oct. 3 (2 p.m.) against regional rival Northeastern University. The Wildcats' next home game is Oct. 6 against intrastate rival Dartmouth College. Game time at Memorial Field is 7 p.m.