BURLINGTON, Vt. – Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) tallied two assists and Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.), in her first collegiate start, recorded five saves to lead the 12th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Friday afternoon's 2-1 America East victory against the University of Vermont at Moulton Winder Field.
UNH improved to 11-2 overall and 2-0 in America East with its third consecutive victory overall and ninth straight win in conference play (dating back to the '09 season). UVM is now 6-7, 0-2.
"The stats say everything about the game," said UNH head coach Robin Balducci, whose team recorded a sizable advantage in both shots (27-6) and penalty corners (12-4). "I'm pleased with the overall play but we didn't finish in the circle. We generated plenty of good chances but just didn't put it away."
The Wildcats did capitalize on one of its nine first-half corners to take a 1-0 lead at 2:46 when Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) redirected Frates' hard pass into the cage. Rausch, who entered this week's action ranked third nationally in points per game and fourth in goals per game, extended her point-scoring streak to 13 games with her team-leading 17th goal of the season.
UNH continued to dominate possession to generate a 16-0 shot advantage and 9-0 edge in penalty corners when Vermont earned an untimed corner at the end of the first half. And the Catamounts scored on their first shot of the game at 35:00 by Emily Bastiaanse.
The Wildcats regained control immediately at the start of the second half and also regained the lead, 2-1, at 42:14 on another corner, this time on a give-and-go between Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) and Frates, who is currently ranked 10th in the nation in points per game. Lyons, as the stopper, swung the ball from the top of the circle to the right wing, where Frates sent a return pass to Lyons near the top of the circle, and her low shot beat UVM goalkeeper Stephanie Zygmunt (nine saves).
Midway through the stanza, UVM had a dangerous scoring opportunity on a corner when Bastiaanse's shot from the top of the circle deflected high off a UNH defender's stick, but Tarbell batted the ball aside with her blocker.
With 11 minutes remaining, Tarbell again preserved New Hampshire's 2-1 lead following a turnover in its defensive circle. Bastiaanse, who recorded all six of UVM's shots in the game, gained possession in the middle of the circle in a 1-v-1 situation with Tarbell, but the UNH goalie denied the Catamount on the initial shot and the rebound.
"I'm very happy for Carlie, who got the win in her first collegiate start and played very well for us," Balduccid said. "She came up with some big saves under pressure in the second half."
The Wildcats kept UVM at bay the rest of the game to secure the victory.
New Hampshire returns to action at home Oct. 9 against seventh-ranked Stanford University. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.