CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Whitney Frates (Woodstock, Vt.) scored two goals, including the game-winning tally in overtime, to lead the 10th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Sunday afternoon's 4-3 non-conference victory against Harvard University at Jordan Field.
UNH ends the regular season at 15-4 to mark the fourth-highest single-season win total in the program's 37-year history; the 1986 squad posted 17 wins, and both the 1980 and 1984 teams finished with 16.
The Wildcats are the top seed and host of the America East Championship tournament, which will be played Nov. 4 & 6 at Memorial Field, and play fourth-seeded University at Albany in the first of two semifinal games on Friday (1 p.m.).
Harvard, which yielded the advantage to New Hampshire in both shots (26-9) and penalty corners (14-1), is 8-8.
"We were peppering their goalie quite a bit, but she came up big," UNH head coach Robin Balducci said. "We played well. This was a good finish to the weekend. We regrouped, got back on track and got the attack back."
Frates became the third player in UNH history to record 50+ career goals. She entered the game with 49 and reached the benchmark with the first of her two tallies, an unassisted goal that gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead 7:59.
Harvard tied the score, 1-1, when UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast (Westborough, Mass.) stopped Kaitlyn Boudah's initial shot but Catriona McDonald scored off the rebound at 14:54.
The Wildcats regained the lead, 2-1, by capitalizing on a penalty corner at 24:57 as Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) redirected a shot by Kyle Lyons (White River Junction, Vt.) past Crimson goalie Cynthia Tassopoulos into the cage.
The home team once again leveled the score, 2-2, at 39:11 on Carly Dickson's shot from the top of the circle.
New Hampshire went back in front, 3-2, on the team-leading 22nd goal of the season by Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) that was set up by Pohlmeyer, who finished with a personal best of three points. Rausch, who entered the game with 49 points this season, became the fourth player in program history to tally 50 points in a single-season by increasing her total to 51 with the goal.
McDonald forged the third tie of the game, 3-3, with 4:18 remaining in regulation. UNH earned an untimed penalty corner at the end of the second half, but was unable to generate a shot and the teams went into overtime.
The Wildcats were awarded a corner in the opening minute of the extra session and Frates placed a shot into the upper-right corner of the cage at 71:35 to keep the 'Cats unbeaten (3-0) in overtime this season. Lyons was credited with her second assist on the play.
Nagengast recorded three saves in both the first and second halves to finish with six overall. Tassopoulos stopped 18 shots, including 14 in the second half, and her teammates totaled four defensive saves – three by Carly McNeill.