GAME NOTES: FIELD HOCKEY PLAYS HOST TO 2010 AMERICA EAST CHAMPIONSHIP THIS WEEKEND
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The University of New Hampshire field hockey team, ranked 19th in this week's national poll, enters the 2010 America East Championship as the league's regular-season champion and tournament top seed. The Wildcats play host to fourth-seeded University of Maine in the first game of the tourney, a Nov. 5 (3 p.m.) semifinal matchup at Memorial Field.
UNH has a 21-11 lifetime record, including a 3-2 road victory earlier this season, against Maine. The Wildcats have an 11-4 edge at home. Since 1994, the teams have alternated wins here at Memorial Field; in the most recent meeting in Durham, the Black Bears prevailed 6-3 in October 2009.
UNH has won four of the last five meetings. Dating back to the 2005 season, six of the seven games in this rivalry have been decided by one goal (including three in overtime).
These programs have met twice in postseason play. Maine won 4-3 in overtime in a 2002 America East semifinal, whereas UNH was a 3-2 victor in OT in the 2008 semis.
Back in early October, the homestanding Black Bears scored in the 25th and 34th minutes to take a 2-0 lead into halftime. UNH pulled within one goal in the 48th minute on a goal by Hayley Rausch, then Whitney Frates, who set up Rausch's goal, scored at 66:05 and 69:55 (on a penalty corner) to complete the Wildcats' comeback. UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast made 11 saves while Maine counterpart Brittany Fleck stopped eight shots. UM had a 15-13 shot advantage, including 11-5 in the first half, while the penalty corners were even, 7-7.
The State of New Hampshire
UNH completed its first unbeaten league season (5-0 record) with a 4-1 victory against 15th-ranked Albany in the Oct. 30 regular-season finale at Memorial Field.
This is the Wildcats' first outright league title since 2000; the 'Cats shared the '02 crown.
New Hampshire's 13 victories are the most in a season since the 2000 squad went 14-8. The Wildcats have back-to-back double-digit win seasons (12 in '09; 13 in '10) for the first time since 2002-03.
New Hampshire is making its fourth consecutive appearance in the America East Championship. It is the team's longest streak since six straight appearances from 1990-95.
The America East regular-season champion has gone on to win each of the last five tournament titles (2005-09).
UNH has not been the tourney's top seed since 2000; this is the first time New Hampshire is host of the tournament.
Kyle Lyons and Megan Bozek ended the regular season with a three-game goal-scoring streak. Lyons scored a goal in four of the last five and five of seven (dating back to Oct. 6).
Hayley Rausch carries a three-game assist streak into the tournament with 0-5-5 in that span. She tallied two assists each of the last two games (vs. nationally-ranked Louisville and Albany).
Kara Connolly tallied an assist in four of the last six regular-season games.
Hayley Rausch, who ranked second on the team in points a majority of the season, vaulted to the top of UNH's points leaderboard with her second consecutive two-assist effort in the regular-season finale vs. Albany. Her totals are 7-13-27.
Rausch's 13 assists is the highest single-season total by a Wildcat since 1998, when Becky Craigue tallied 15. The 13 assists ranks fifth on UNH's list of single-season superlatives.
Kendall Deck has 11 assists, so this marks the first time since 2000 that New Hampshire teammates have 10+ assists. (Allie Lehmann and Tami Street, 10 apiece)
Kyle Lyons has emerged as an offensive weapon this season. She is tied for the team lead with 10 goals, including two on penalty strokes.
Whitney Frates has not recorded a point in three consecutive games, which matches the longest pointless streak of her three-year career (once previously in 2009). Prior to this stretch, Frates had a four-game point-scoring streak and had tallied a point in six of seven games (7-3-17 in that span).
Kara Connolly, who compiled 2-10-14 in 58 career games spanning her first three years, has 10-2-22 in 19 games this season.
Eight players have started all 19 games this season. Two others have 18 starts and one has been in the starting lineup 15 times.
UNH will be making its 16th appearance in conference postseason play at this weekend's America East Field Hockey Championship.
The Wildcats have a 6-14 record in the America East Championship tourney and won their lone title in 1998. Last year, the 'Cats fell 3-0 at Albany in the semifinals
The 'Cats have a 5-10 mark overall in conference semifinal games and a 1-4 ledger in title games.
Home Sweet Home
New Hampshire is 8-2 at home this season and has outscored the opposition 28-14 with a 145-92 shot advantage here at Memorial Field. Katherine Nagengast has a 1.41 goals-against-average and .767 save percentage in 10 home games.
Looking at home/road splits, Hayley Rausch has recorded a majority of her points at home (4g, 11a home/3g, 2a road); Kendall Deck has tallied 10 of 11 assists at home; both Whitney Frates and Kara Connolly have 4-5-13 at home; four of Megan Bozek's five goals have been at home and Kyle Lyons is the top goal scorer here at Memorial Field with six.
Here is the conference ranking of the America East Championship field in overall statistics:
UNH Maine Albany Boston U.
Offense 2nd (2.57) 1st (3.44) 3rd (2.35) 4th (1.95)
Defense 4th (1.89) 3rd (1.44) 2nd (1.36) 1st (1.20)
A handful of UNH Wildcats are ranked among the league leaders (all games; all stats listed are per-game averages) and that includes the top three in assists as well as four among the top 10 in points. Hayley Rausch, Kendall Deck and Kara Connolly are 1-2-3 in assists. Rausch is also the highest-ranked 'Cat in points at #6; she is followed by Whitney Frates (#8), Kyle Lyons (9) and Connolly (10). Frates and Lyons are tied for seventh in goals.
Here is the conference ranking of the America East Championship field in league-only games:
UNH Maine Albany Boston U.
Offense 1st (3.00) 3rd (2.42) 4th (1.66) 2nd (2.75)
Defense 3rd (1.20) 4th (2.02) 2nd (0.92) 1st (0.92)
In league-only games, Rausch once again sits atop the assist leaderboard. Frates and Connolly are tied for second in that statistic, while Lyons and Deck are tied for sixth. Rausch is also the top 'Cat in points; at #2, she is one of three UNH players in the top 10 (Frates-6th; Lyons-tie, 7th). Three Wildcats are also among the top 10 in goals with Frates, Lyons and Rausch tied for seventh.
In a Class by Herself
Kara Connolly is the lone senior on the 2010 roster and the midfielder has had a breakout season offensively. In her first three seasons, Connolly tallied two goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 58 games. This year in 19 games, she has six goals and nine assists for 21 points to rank third on the team in assists, fourth in points and tied for fourth in goals. She is also third in shots (36) and is tied for the team lead in game-winning goals with three.
Connolly opened the season with a four-game point-scoring streak (4-2-10 in that span) and went on to record a point in 11 of 19 games overall. She tallied an assist in two of the last three regular-season games and in four of six.
Connolly's season highlights included her first multiple-goal game against Bryant (Sept. 2) and a career-high four points in that game. She also equalled her personal best of two assists Sept. 18 at Holy Cross and factored in multiple goals (goal, assist) against both Delaware (Aug. 29) and Central Michigan (Sept. 25).
The five-member junior class features the team's top three point scorers (Hayley Rausch, Whitney Frates, Kyle Lyons), top three goal scorers (Frates, Lyons, Rausch), top two in assists (Rausch, Kendall Deck) and the goalkeeper who has started all 19 regular-season games (Katherine Nagengast).
Overall, the four field players account for 27 of 49 goals (55%), 32 of 46 assists (70%) and 86 of 144 points (60%).
UNH scored the game's first goal in 11 of 19 regular-season games and went on to win 10 times; the only exception was a 3-2 loss to #10 Louisville (Oct. 24). The Wildcats have a 3-5 record when falling behind 1-0; those three wins were on the road vs. Northeastern, Maine and Fairfield.
Eight of UNH's 19 regular-season games were decided by one goal and the Wildcats were 4-4 in those games; that included a 2-0 mark in America East games and 1-0 a record in contests decided by overtime. Each of New Hampshire's last four losses have been by one goal.
Scouting the Black Bears
The University of Maine enters the America East Championship with a 13-5 overall record that includes 2-3 in America East and 4-4 on the road. Last weekend in a battle for the #3 seed at Boston U., Maine fell short, 2-1, in overtime. That loss snapped a five-game winning streak in which the Black Bears outscored the opposition 21-6.
Maine went 0-3 vs. this year's America East tourney field, but all three losses were by one goal. In addition to the aforementioned OT loss at BU, the Black Bears lost 1-0 at Albany (Oct. 9) and 3-2 at home to UNH (Oct. 1).
Kelly Newton spearheads one of the most potent offenses in the country –UM has scored 6+ goals six times. Newton, with 18 goals and seven assists for 43 points, ranks #9 in the nation in goals per game (1.00) and 10th in points per game (2.39). Jocelyn Mitchell (15-4-34) and Stephanie Gardiner (13-7-33) are the other top goal scorers and point producers.
The defense is anchored by goalkeeper Brittany Fleck, who is ranked #5 in the nation in save percentage (.818) and 13th in GAA (1.22).
Maine has oustcored the opposition 62-26 this season, and that includes 34-10 in the first half. The Black Bears also hold a substantial edge in shots (315-218).
Scouting the Great Danes
The University at Albany, ranked #15 in this week's national poll, enters the postseason with a 13-4 overall record that includes 4-1 in America East, 6-1 on the road and 1-0 at neutral sites. The Great Danes closed the regular season here at UNH's Memorial Field with a 4-1 loss in the battle for the America East regular-season title. One week earlier, UA upended Boston U., 2-1 in penalty strokes, to set up the winner-take-all finale against the Wildcats.
Albany is 2-3 in the last five games, but all three losses were to nationally-ranked teams (#9 Syracuse, 2-1, OT; #9 American, 2-0). Prior to that, the Great Danes had a seven-game winning streak.
Christina Patrick leads the team in goals (12), assists (seven) and points (31). Daphne Voormolen (9-1-19) and Corrine McConville (8-2-18) are the next top point producers while Suzy Clephane is tied with Patrick for the lead in assists.
The Great Danes utilized a tandem in goal. Christine Hoffman has started 16 of 17 games and has a 6-1 record with a 1.62 GAA and .641 save percentage. Kristi Troch has played in 16 of 17 games with one start; she is 7-2 with a 0.84 GAA and .860 save percentage and those numbers rank #4 in the nation in save percentage and #8 in GAA.
UA has outscored the opposition 45-22 and that includes 27-7 in the second half. The Great Danes also have significant advantages in both shots (311-174) and penalty corners (136-60).
Scouting the Terriers
Boston University, ranked #18 in this week's national poll, enters the tourney with a 10-7 overall record that includes 3-2 in America East, 4-3 on the road and 2-1 at neutral sites. In the regular-season finale, the Terriers outlasted Maine, 2-1 in overtime, in to win the battle for the tournament's third seed. That victory snapped a three-game losing streak (at Albany, UConn, at UNH).
BU is led offensively by Andrea Greene, who has 13 goals and three assists for 29 points. Jacinda McLeod leads four other Terriers in double digits with 6-4-16.
Amanda Smith has started all 15 games in which she has played this season. She has a 9-4 record with a 1.15 GAA and .683 save percentage to rank #10 in the nation in GAA.
Julie Collins has also seen significant action in goal this season. In nine games (two starts), she is 1-2 with a 1.35 GAA and .765 save percentage.