PHILADELPHIA – Meg Flatley (Townsend, Mass.) scored two goals to give the 20th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team a 2-1 lead, but Ohio State University scored with five seconds remaining in regulation and outscored UNH 3-1 in the shootout to prevail 3-2 in Sunday's third-place game of the Conference Cup played at Temple University's Geasey Field.
UNH, which lost 8-4 to second-ranked University of Maryland in the tourney's opening round, is now 0-2 while Ohio State improves to 1-1.
Flatley tied her career high in both goals (two) and points (four) on a game-high six shots, five of which were on goal. Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) recorded her second assist in as many days and Aggie Sutherland (Dauphin, Pa.) tallied her first career point with an assist. Goalkeeper Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.), who matched her personal best of 12 saves vs. Maryland, made three of her 10 saves in the 30 minutes of overtime vs. Ohio State.
Sophia Pifer and Paige Hamilton scored for OSU while Sarah Lemieux finished with eight saves, including three in the OT sessions.
"We had our chances to put it away and didn't," UNH 23rd-year head coach Robin Balducci said. "But we did have some excellent offensive execution – the second goal was on a beautiful corner setup. In overtime, we controlled 80 to 85 percent of it and their goalie came up big.
"I give credit to Ohio State," Balducci added. "They played hard and battled back, but so did we. That's the level of field hockey I want to play. I just think we didn't have a lot left in the gas tank after playing a tough game against a team the caliber of Maryland less than 24 hours earlier."
In the waning seconds of regulation, the Buckeyes trailed 2-1 and pushed the ball into the circle. Tarbell stopped the initial shot by Brooke Hiltz, but Hamilton scored off the rebound to tie the score, 2-2, at 69:55.
In the first 15-minute extra session, UNH pressured early and generated a Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.) shot that went wide and a shot by Flatley that was stopped by Lemieux. The Wildcats continued to attack but the OSU defense blocked a shot by Kellie Joyce (South Pomfret, Vt.). Tarbell denied Mona Frommhold in the 80th minute and neither team recorded a shot the rest of the first OT.
Lemieux kept the game tied, 2-2, with a save against Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) at 86:06 and then the Buckeyes began to seize momentum. Kaitlyn Wagner struck a shot off target at 87:10, followed by Peanut Johnson's shot that Tarbell blocked away at 89:16 and Hamilton shot wide off the rebound. OSU earned a penalty corner in the 92nd minute, but Tarbell once again denied Frommhold to extend the game.
UNH's Chandler Giese (Trappe, Pa.) was stymied by Lemieux at 96:19 and that was the last shot of the extra sessions. OSU recorded a 4-2 shot advantage in the second OT to level the OT shot totals at five apiece. The Buckeyes finished with a 22-21 edge overall, but UNH recorded a 14-7 advantage in penalty corners.
In New Hampshire's first-ever game decided by shootout – the shootout replaced penalty strokes in 2012 – both UNH's Flatley and OSU's Johnson scored in Round 1 of the best-of-five. The Buckeyes led 2-1 after two rounds and 3-1 through three rounds, then claimed victory when the 'Cats didn't score in Round 4.
UNH went 6-3 in overtime games last season and had won four consecutive games decided beyond regulation. The last time a Wildcats' game went beyond double overtime was Oct. 10, 2007, when they lost 3-2 at Dartmouth College.
OSU dominated play in the opening 20 minutes of the first half to generate an 8-1 shot advantage and 1-0 lead. In the eighth minute, the Buckeyes generated three consecutive corners that produced Frommhold's shot that was stopped by Tarbell. Two minutes later, Emma Royce struck a shot wide of the cage on another corner and then Nina Laudahn also misfired wide.
Tarbell once again kept the game scoreless when she denied Johnson at 13:59, but OSU took a 1-0 lead at 15:37 when Sophia Pifer redirected Johnson's shot into the cage.
The Buckeyes continued to pressure and Johnson was once again stoned by Tarbell at 17:52. The designated visitors held an 8-1 shot advantage through 20 minutes, but that's when New Hampshire began to build momentum.
UNH earned the first of five consecutive penalty corners at 20:30. On the first opportunity, Pohlmeyer's shot was blocked by the Buckeyes' defense, which also blocked Woods' shot on the second corner. The fourth corner produced a shot on goal, but Bozek's bid was stopped by Lemieux. On the fifth corner, Joyce lifted a shot over the crossbar at 22:48.
New Hampshire continued to attack and tied the game, 1-1, at 31:03 when Flatley converted Sutherland's quick pass down the center of the circle into a goal. The Wildcats generated an untimed corner at the end of the half, but Lemieux once again stymied Bozek. UNH was awarded another corner, however, and this time Bozek's shot went wide of the cage.
Flatley, who recorded a personal-best two assists vs. Maryland, struck again at 38:54 to give UNH a 2-1 lead. She initiated the scoring sequence by inserting the ball on a penalty corner and finished it off by tipping Pohlmeyer's shot into the cage.
Ohio State responded by outshooting the designated home team 4-0 the next nine minutes, but Tarbell turned aside the only shot on target to preserve the one-goal lead.
UNH started to regain momentum with a Meg Carroll (Mansfield, Mass.) shot wide at 48:23 and Sutherland's blocked shot at 49:16.
OSU called time out at 55:26. Seven minutes later, Hamilton was denied by Tarbell and moments later she struck a shot wide.
The Wildcats called a timeout at 63:58 and began to assert themselves offensively. Lemieux was forced to make a stop against Flatley at 66:29, and then UNH generated a corner that yielded Pohlmeyer's shot wide at 67:08. The 'Cats earned another corner in the closing minute of the second half, but Pohlmeyer hit the ball wide. OSU counterattacked and scored the game-tying goal.
UNH returns to action Sept. 6 (9 p.m. Eastern) at Stanford University and then the Wildcats play University of the Pacific at Stanford on Sept. 8 (2 p.m. Eastern). New Hampshire plays its 2013 home opener Sept. 13 (7 p.m.) against Providence College.