|KARA CONNOLLY||KYLE LYONS|
|WHITNEY FRATES||HAYLEY RAUSCH|
DURHAM, N.H. – Daphne Voormolen scored at 8:03 of overtime to lift the 15th-ranked University at Albany field hockey team to a 3-2 victory against 19th-ranked University of New Hampshire in the 2010 America East Championship title game Saturday afternoon at Memorial Field.
UNH, the regular-season champion and top seed of the tournament by virtue of a 5-0 regular-season conference record, ends its season at 14-7. The 14 wins is the highest total by the Wildcats since the 2000 squad also had 14 victories.
Albany, which had lost 4-1 last Saturday to UNH at Memorial Field, is the America East champion for the second time in the last three years. The 15-5 Great Danes advance to play Rider University, the Northeast Conference titlist, in an NCAA play-in game.
With the game tied 2-2 at the end of regulation, the teams entered sudden-victory overtime. UNH's Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) stole the ball at the 25-yard line and carried the ball into the circle to generate a penalty corner for the Wildcats four minutes into the extra session. The battery of Emma Erler (New Hampton, N.H.) and Kara Connolly (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) set up Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) on the top-left, but Lyons' low shot was turned aside by UA goalkeeper Kristi Troch. The 'Cats were awarded a second corner, however, and once again Lyons' low shot was stopped by Troch.
At the other end of the field, the Great Danes utilized a restart just outside the circle to claim the championship. Ashlyn Bach swept a pass from the top-left side diagonally across the circle and Voormolen redirected the ball into the cage at 78:03.
UNH goalie Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) made five saves and Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) had a defensive save. Troch, who entered the game at the start of the second half, was credited with the win and three saves. UA starting goalie Christine Hoffman did not stop a shot during her 35 minutes of action in the first half.
Frates, Lyons and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) were named to the 2010 America East Field Hockey All-Championship Team. Albany's Corrine McConville was named the Most Outstanding Player; she was joined on the All-Championship Team by Troch, Taylor Luke and Christina Patrick.
New Hampshire quickly took a 1-0 lead at 2:59. Connolly entered the ball from the top-left side to the middle of the circle, where Hannah Richard (Hopkinton, N.H.) collected the pass with her back to the cage, turned and fired a shot into the cage. It was the first career points for Richard.
With just over 10 minutes remaining in the first half, Voormolen's chance from deep on the right side was kicked away by Nagengast's left leg pad. Moments later, the Great Danes were awarded a penalty corner, and then immediately another in which McConville's high shot sailed wide right. UA maintained pressure and Voormolen, positioned in the middle of the circle, redirected a shot on goal that Nagengast turned aside.
Albany tied the score, 1-1, at 32:15 off of pressure from a corner. Patrick, who pushed the ball into play to begin the sequence, also deposited the ball in the cage when she redirected Nina Walters' strike from high in the circle.
The teams entered halftime tied 1-1 despite the Great Danes' 7-2 edge in shots and 4-2 advantage in corners.
New Hampshire also struck early in the second half, however, to regain the lead, 2-1, at 40:28. The Wildcats were awarded a penalty stroke and Lyons, who converted both opportunities in the regular season, lifted a shot into the upper-left corner for her 11th goal of the season.
Fourteen minutes into the second half, UNH threatened to extend its lead but Frates' centering pass from the left wing bounded past Richard's stick in the middle of the circle. Richard had another chance four minutes later, but this time her shot from deep on the right wing was wide of the near post.
The Great Danes nearly evened the score with 9:45 to play in regulation when Patrick's rising reverse-stick shot from the top-left side caromed off the right post and landed in the goalmouth. Nagengast reacted quickly to clear the ball, but Walters kept the ball inside the circle and fired a shot wide left.
UA generated its first corner of the second half with 4:30 on the clock. McConville's initial shot was blocked but she corralled the ball and her next shot was stopped by Nagengast. The Great Danes were awarded another corner, however, and this time Patrick's shot was swept off the goal line by Bozek.
That led to a third consecutive corner and this time Suzy Clephane's shot from the top of the circle was redirected into the cage by Walters to tie the game at 67:07.
This marked UNH's sixth appearance in the America East title game. The Wildcats' lone title came in 1998, which was also the last time the league championship game went into overtime.
The end of the 2010 season also closes Connolly's UNH field hockey career. The midfielder, who was named to the All-Conference First Team earlier in the week, tallied eight goals and 20 assists for 36 points in 79 career games; that included 6-10-22 in 21 games this season. She helped lead the 'Cats to four consecutive America East postseason appearance.
2010 America East Championship (at UNH's Memorial Field)
Semifinals (Nov. 5)
UNH 3, Maine 2
Albany 2, Boston U. 1
Final (Nov. 6)
Albany 3, UNH 2 (overtime)
2010 America East Field Hockey Championship Most Outstanding Player
Corrine McConville, Albany
2010 America East Field Hockey All-Championship Team
Taylor Luke, Albany
Corrine McConville, Albany
Christina Patrick, Albany
Kristi Troch, Albany
Whitney Frates, UNH
Kyle Lyons, UNH
Hayley Rausch, UNH
Allie Dolce, Boston U.
Jacinda McLeod, Boston U.
Stephanie Gardiner, Maine
Mallory Anderson, Maine