ALBANY, N.Y. – Meg Flatley (Townsend, Mass.) scored two goals and Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.) recorded seven saves to lead the University of New Hampshire field hockey team to Friday afternoon's 3-0 victory against 12th-ranked University at Albany at Alumni Field.
UNH improved to 8-6 overall and climbed to the top of the America East standings at 2-0; the Wildcats are 16-1 the past 17 conference regular-season games. Albany, which entered the game ranked No. 1 in the nation in defense (0.79 goals-against-average) and No. 2 in offense (4.57 goals per game), is now 12-3, 2-1.
For Flatley, it was her third two-goal game and fourth game-winning goal of the season, while for Tarbell it marked her first shutout of the year and second of her career. Meg Carroll (Mansfield, Mass.) scored UNH's other goal and Chandler Giese (Trappe, Pa.), Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) and Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.) were credited with one assist apiece.
UA goalkeeper Maxi Primus made five saves.
"We played well for two halves," 23rd-year head coach Robin Balducci said. "Albany is a very skilled team and to hold them to one penalty corner each half is just an amazing effort. We played very well defensively inside our 25.
"This is a very emotional game, a healthy rivalry and really a battle," she added. "I'm very happy."
In the opening minute of the game, Albany pressured and Echo Bretz struck a shot wide of the cage. Three minutes later, Kelly Bonner also fired a shot wide. In the sixth minute, Tarbell's first save of the game denied Daphne Voormolen.
The Wildcats generated a scoring opportunity in the 10th minute and Kellie Joyce (South Pomfret, Vt.) was denied by Primus. UNH would not be denied in the 12th minute, however, as Flatley scored her team-leading 10th goal of the season – off a rebound – at 11:25.
New Hampshire had the next scoring opportunity with a penalty corner at 13:34 and Woods shot the ball wide. Three minutes later, Primus kept it a one-goal game when she turned aside Joyce's shot.
Albany quickly advanced the ball to the other end of the field, where Tarbell stopped Paula Heuser's bid at 16:56. Neither team recorded a shot for the next 10 minutes until Carroll was denied by Primus.
The Wildcats were awarded a penalty corner in the 31st minute and it produced Giese's shot that was blocked by a Great Danes' defender.
UA earned a corner in the 34th minute and that led to Heuser's shot wide. Seconds later, Fiori Van Rijswijk was stopped by Tarbell.
UNH led 1-0 at halftime with the shots even at seven and the 'Cats holding a 2-1 edge in corners.
In the opening 10 minutes of the second half, the teams combined for just one shot and that was Heuser's shot blocked by a defender at 44:41. Two minutes later, Heuser's next shot was on target but Tarbell made the save.
Albany continued to control play and generated a corner at 48:40 and the shot off Heuser's stick was once again blocked by a UNH defensive player. Thirty seconds later, Tarbell was forced to make a save against Bonner to preserve UNH's 1-0 lead. The Great Danes sustained pressure and Tarbell made a stop against Voormolen at 49:46.
UNH generated its first scoring opportunity of the second half with a corner in the 54th minute and Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) was denied by Primus. Tarbell once again kept UNH in front with another save vs. Voormolen at 56:14.
The Wildcats extended the lead to 2-0 at 60:44 when Carroll scored off a rebound at 60:44, and that prompted the home team to call time out.
It was UNH, however, that generated the next offensive pressure in the 68th minute. Flatley's opportunity was blocked aside by Primus, but the 'Cats were awarded a corner in which Flatley redirected Pohlmeyer's shot into the cage for a 3-0 lead at 67:43.
Neither team recorded a shot or corner the rest of the way – UNH's defense did not yield a shot the last 13:46. Albany finished with the 13-10 shot advantage but the 'Cats had the 4-2 edge in corners.
New Hampshire returns to action Oct. 20 at home against Bucknell University. Game time at Memorial Field is 2 p.m.