DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) made a career-high 12 saves but Kelly Hood scored twice, including the game-winning tally, to lift the Dartmouth College field hockey team to Wednesday night's 4-3 non-conference victory at Memorial Field.
UNH, which entered the game with a three-game winning streak and seven straight wins at home, is now 9-4. Dartmouth improved to 8-2. The road team has been victorious eight of the last nine meetings in this series.
Kendall Deck (Bridgewater, N.J.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) both recorded two assists, while UNH's goal scorers were Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) and Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.)m who was also credited with a defensive save.
Dartmouth's other goal scorers were Kerry Bracco and Liz Blanken. Kelly McHenry tallied two assists and Virginia Peisch had one while goalie Meagan Vakiener stopped seven shots.
The Big Green, which entered the game ranked second in the nation in offense and fourth in penalty corners per game, scored on a penalty corner at 3:06 to take an early 1-0 lead. Peisch hit the ball into play to the top of the circle for McHenry's stop, and then Hood drove a low shot inside the right post.
UNH responded quickly with back-to-back corners, but Bozek's shot on the second attempt rolled with left. In the eighth minute, the Wildcats generated a transition attack in which Frates carried the ball from 35 yards into the circle, but her bid was blocked aside by the oncoming Vakiener.
Dartmouth responded with pressure at the opposite end of the field when Claire Byrne intercepted a pass at the 25 yard line, carried the ball inside the circle on the right wing and sent a shot towards the goal that was deflected by the sliding Nagengast. The visitors kept the ball in the circle and Maya Herm's bid from the middle of the circle was also denied by Nagengast.
UNH generated a penalty corner midway through the first half and capitalized on that opportunity to tie the score, 1-1, at 17:48. Rausch initiated the sequence with a pass to Deck at the top of the circle and Bozek hit a low shot inside the left post.
Four minutes later, DC produced another dangerous scoring opportunity on a corner when Hood's high shot from the top of the circle was blocked aside by Nagengast's outstretched stick. Moments later, the Big Green had another corner and Bracco's knee-high shot was stopped by Nagengast.
Dartmouth would not be denied on its next corner and regained the lead, 2-1, at 25:21. Peisch once again pushed the ball into play but this time McHenry swung the ball high to the left, where Bracco settled the ball and her low shot through traffic rolled inside the far post.
It didn't take long for the 'Cats to respond with goals 1:58 apart to transform a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead. Frates' individual effort – she bulled her way in from 35 yards to the left side of the circle and deposited a shot inside the left post – leveled the score, 2-2 at 28:36. UNH scored its second penalty-corner goal of the night at 30:34 when the battery of Rausch and Deck set up Lyons.
The Wildcats had one last dangerous scoring chance in the first half. With three minutes on the clock, Rausch advanced the ball from midfield past the Big Green defense to Hannah Richard (Hopkinton, N.H.) alone on the right wing. Richard charged towards the near post and Vakiener made a right leg-pad save on the low, driven shot.
Dartmouth, which generated a 13-10 shot advantage in the opening half, struck early in the second half to once again go in front, 4-3. The Big Green was awarded a penalty stroke and Blanken lifted a shot under the crossbar towards the left side to pull the visitors even, 3-3, at 38:29.
With 29 minutes on the clock, UNH threatened again in transition, but DC's Lisa Masini raced back to tackle the ball away from Rausch seven yards out from the left post.
Hood struck again, this time on an individual effort, to give the Big Green a 4-3 lead at 42:45. She corralled the ball just inside midfield, dribbled to the top of the circle and then shifted towards the left before sweeping a low backhander into the cage.
In the 45th minute, on one of New Hampshire's seven second-half penalty corners, Bozek struck a shot from the top of the circle that bounced wide left of the target. Midway through the half on another corner, Frates redirected Lyons' hit from the top-left side wide of the right post.
The 'Cats called time out at 54:04, but it was the visitors that generated a flurry of shots three minutes later in which Nagengast stopped Herm and then Allie Weinstock off the rebound. Herm collected the ball and fired a shot past the UNH goalie, but Lyons was in position to turn the ball away from the goal line and keep it a one-goal game.
With eight minutes remaining, the 'Cats pushed the pace off a turnover and Richard's shot from the middle of the circle was kicked away by Vakiener's left leg pad. Two minutes later, UNH had consecutive corners but did not record a shot on either. Then with five minutes to play, Frates, from seven yards, lifted a shot high of the crossbar.
Dartmouth quickly pushed the ball upfield, but Herm's attempted hit into the circle for Weinstock was intercepted by Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.).
In the closing two minutes, the Big Green prevented the Wildcats from advancing the ball past midfield to secure the victory.
Dartmouth ended with a 20-16 shot advantage but UNH had a 13-6 edge in corners.
New Hampshire resumes America East conference action when it returns to play Oct. 9 at home against the University of Vermont. Game time for this Homecoming game is 5 p.m.