The University of New Hampshire field hockey team is the top seed of the 2013 America East Championship and plays host to fourth-seeded Fairfield University in a Nov. 7 semifinal. Game time at Memorial Field is 2 p.m.
UNH has won all eight previous meetings, including five at home, against Fairfield. Last year, the Wildcats were 3-2 victors on the road in double overtime and then the 'Cats ousted the Stags from the America East Championship with a 3-2 overtime semifinal win at Memorial Field.
This series began in 2007, when Fairfield became an associate member of America East in field hockey. New Hampshire has won four times by shutout, including this year's 4-0 victory in Durham less than a week ago (Nov. 1).
In that game, which happened to be Senior Day for UNH, the Wildcats took a 1-0 lead into halftime on a goal by Hannah Richard at 28:54. The 'Cats generated a slight advantage in shots (4-3) but Fairfield had the edge in penalty corners (2-0). Meg Flatley scored goals approximately five minutes apart – at 40:18 and 45:27 – to break open a close game. Megan Bozek, with the assistance of Flatley and Kellie Joyce, scored on a penalty corner to end the game. New Hampshire dominated the second half with a 12-0 shot advantage and 4-0 tally in corners. Carlie Tarbell made two saves while counterpart Caitlin Bennett stopped six shots.
The State of New Hampshire
UNH has a 13-6 overall record that includes 6-2 at home and 5-0 in America East. The Wildcats won 12 of the last 14 regular-season games and closed with a six-game winning streak during which they recorded five consecutive shutouts.
New Hampshire has outscored the opposition 24-1 during the current six-game win streak. The 'Cats have scored at least one goal all 12 halves.
UNH used the same starting lineup all 19 regular-season games.
The UNH Wildcats are the America East regular-season titlist and conference tournament top seed – and tourney host – for the fourth consecutive year. They begin their quest to win a third conference tournament championship (1998, 2011) in the Thursday, Nov. 7 semifinal against Fairfield.
Since the start of the 2010 season, the 'Cats have a 19-1 record in America East regular-season games. They just completed a second consecutive perfect conference record and also went 5-0 in 2010.
UNH has won a total of six America East regular-season titles. In addition to 2010-11-12-13, the 'Cats shared the '02 crown and won the 2000 title outright.
Including postseason play, UNH is 23-3, including 14-2 at home, against America East teams spanning the 2010-11-12-13 seasons. That includes three perfect regular seasons, two tourney runner-up finishes (2010, 2012) and tournament title (2011).
Dating back to the start of the 2010 season, the only league team to defeat UNH is Albany. The Wildcats have a 4-3 record vs. the Great Danes in that span (including two tourney losses) and are 15-0 against the other four current America East teams – 5-0 vs. Maine, including the 2010 semifinal; 5-0 vs. Fairfield, including the 2012 semi; 4-0 vs. Vermont and 1-0 against UMass Lowell. [Note: UNH also went 4-0 against Boston University spanning the 2010-11-12 seasons.]
How We Got Here
New Hampshire secured both a share of the America East regular-season crown and the tournament top seed with a 7-0 victory at the University of Vermont on Oct. 27. The Wildcats won the title outright with last Friday's 4-0 win at home against Fairfield to complete the conference schedule unbeaten (5-0) for the third time in four years.
The America East Championship semifinal winners advance to the Nov. 9 championship game at Memorial Field, which begins at 2 p.m. The America East tournament champion advances to the NCAA Championship – the bracket is announced Nov. 10 at 10 p.m.
Bozek, Pohlmeyer Selected to NFHCA Senior Game
Senior back Megan Bozek and senior midfielder Casey Pohlmeyer have been selected to compete in the prestigious Front Rush/NFHCA Division I Senior Game that will be played Nov. 23 at the Virginia Beach Sportsplex.
This is the fifth consecutive year the Wildcats will be represented at the event. Dating back to 2009, senior forward and current Wildcats' assistant coach Meg Shea was named to the squad. In 2010, it was midfielder Kara Connolly representing UNH in College Park, Md. In 2011, the game was held at the University of Maryland, where UNH sent a pair of seniors – forward Whitney Frates and back Kyle Lyons. In 2012, senior midfielder Emma Erler played in the game at Old Dominion.
Sophomore forward Meg Flatley has exceeded her rookie totals (9-3-21) in goals (15), assists (four) and points (34); Flatley has tallied a point in 13 of 19 games with a goal in 11 of 19; she leads the 'Cats in goals, points and shots (47). She carries a three-game goal-scoring streak into the postseason with four goals and an assist (nine points) in that span, and that includes a career-high five points against Fairfield (Nov. 1).
Junior goalkeeper Carlie Tarbell has played all 1381:01 in goal this season. She recorded five consecutive shutouts spanning Oct. 18 to Nov. 1 and her shutout streak ended at 404 minutes, 50 seconds in the Nov. 3 regular-season finale at Dartmouth College.
Junior midfielder Kellie Joyce ended the regular season with an assist in four consecutive games – UMass Lowell, Vermont, Fairfield and Dartmouth. She matched her career high of two assists at UVM.
Senior forward Hannah Richard saw her four-game goal-scoring streak end in the regular-season finale at Dartmouth (Nov. 3). She had scored goals in consecutive games against Bucknell, UMass Lowell, Vermont and Fairfield. Richard matched her career high of two goals at UVM.
Senior midfielder Melyssa Woods has established personal single-season highs in goals (three), assists (four) and points (10).
Senior midfielder Casey Pohlmeyer has matched her single-season high in assists (nine).
UNH will be making its 19th America East Championship appearance this week; it is the program's seventh consecutive tourney appearance. The Wildcats have a 10-16 overall tournament record with titles in 1998 and 2011.
This is the fourth consecutive year the 'Cats are the tourney host – prior to 2010, the America East Championship had not been in Durham.
New Hampshire has an 8-10 record in semifinals but has advanced to the championship game with a semifinal victory each of the last three years on its home turf.
The 'Cats have a 2-6 record in conference championship games, including 1-2 at home.
UNH has a 1-0 postseason record vs. Fairfield, and that win came in last year's semifinals (3-2 in overtime). The Wildcats have a 1-4 record vs. Albany in the conference tourney, and that includes 0-3 in finals; three of the five games were decided by one goal. They are 2-2 against Maine but have never faced the Black Bears in a title game; UNH has won each of the last two postseason meetings – the 2008 and 2010 semifinals, both by a score of 3-2.
Double Digit Wins
With 13 wins this season, UNH has reached double digit victories for the fifth consecutive season. The current streak began in 2009 (12-7) and continued in 2010 (14-7), 2011 (17-5) and 2012 (12-8). New Hampshire had recorded five straight winning seasons just one other time in its 39-year history – 1983 (14), 1984 (16), 1985 (13), 1986 (17) and 1987 (10).
New Hampshire shut out five consecutive opponents – Albany, Bucknell, UMass Lowell, Vermont and Fairfield – spanning Oct. 18 to Nov. 1.
Prior to this season, the last time the 'Cats shut out five consecutive opponents was September 1984 (six games); UNH also recorded five straight shutouts in October 1983 and Sept.-Oct. 1980. The program record is seven in 1977.
Battle of the 'Cats
UNH recorded season highs in goals (seven), assists (five), points (19) and shots (38) Oct. 27 at Vermont ... The Wildcats held the Catamounts without a shot in the second half and to a total of two [UNH did not allow UMass Lowell to record a shot in the first half (Oct. 25) and limited the River Hawks to five overall]
Chandler Giese scored her first goal at Vermont. Lynne Lehman tallied career highs in both goals (two) and points (four). Hannah Richard matched her personal best of two goals. Kellie Joyce matched her career high of two assists.
During the six-game win streak, UNH has recorded more shots each half (57-1st; 55-2nd) than the opposition has overall (47). The same is true of penalty corners with 23 in the first half and 26 in the second compared to 17 overall by the opponent. The Wildcats also have an impressive .214 shooting percentage with 24 goals on 112 shots.
Home Sweet Home
UNH has a 6-2 record at Memorial Field this season and has won four consecutive home games. The Wildcats have outscored the opposition 23-9, including 12-2 in the second half. New Hampshire also has the edge in both shots (117-65) and penalty corners (58-38). Hannah Richard leads all point scorers at Memorial Field with 12 (6g); she is followed closely by Meg Flatley (5-1-11) and Megan Bozek (4-1-9). In eight home games, Carlie Tarbell has a 1.10 GAA and .757 save percentage with three shutouts.
Hunting for October
UNH went 6-2 in October (3-1 both home and away) and closed the month with a four-game winning streak – all by shutout. The Wildcats outscored the opposition 26-10, including 13-4 in the second half, and also tallied a sizeable advantage in both shots (159-81) and penalty corners (70-41). The offense was led by Hannah Richard (5g), Meg Flatley (4g, 1a), Lynne Lehman (4g, 1a) and Casey Pohlmeyer (3g, 3a). Carlie Tarbell compiled a 1.23 GAA and .796 save percentage with four shutouts.
New Hampshire played three overtime games in the 2013 regular season. Most recently, UNH prevailed 3-2 against Maine on Oct. 11 when Meg Flatley scored with 4:14 remaining in the first OT. The Wildcats also won 3-2 in overtime at (then) seventh-ranked UMass on Sept. 27.
The Wildcats lost in a shootout, 3-2, to Ohio State on Sept. 1 after the games played to a 2-2 tie through regulation and both 15-minute overtime periods; it was the first time a UNH game was decided by shootout (prior to this season, games beyond two OTs were decided by penalty strokes).
UNH faced six nationally-ranked teams in the regular season and had a 2-4 record. The Wildcats upended No. 7 UMass (3-2 in OT, Sept. 27) and No. 12 Albany (3-0, Oct. 18). The 'Cats lost to No. 2 Maryland (8-4, Aug. 31), No. 3 Syracuse (3-1, Oct. 13), No. 9 Boston College (3-1, Oct. 4) and No. 12 Stanford (5-1, Sept. 6).
On the America East leaderboards, UNH ranks fourth in offense (2.84 gpg) and second in defense (1.79 gpg). In other stats, the Wildcats are first in penalty corners (8.26/game) and third in shots (16.58/game).
Carlie Tarbell is No. 1 in save percentage (.755) and No. 2 in GAA. (1.72). Meg Flatley ranks third in goals per game and fifth in points per game. Casey Pohlmeyer is No. 4 in assists per game while Hannah Richard is eighth in goals/game.
Saluting the Seniors
The senior quartet has led UNH to four consecutive America East regular-season titles with an 19-1 conference record and 56 wins overall. These 'Cats also advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2011.
Melyssa Woods has been a four-year starter and staple in the midfield since arriving in 2009, when she was named to the America East All-Rookie Team. She became an integral part of both penalty corner units as a junior in 2011. After a redshirt year in 2012, Melyssa has returned to patrolling the midfield and playing on the penalty corners for the 'Cats this season, and she has recorded single-season highs in goals (three), assists (four) and points (10). In 81 career games, she has tallied eight goals and six assists for 22 points.
Hannah Richard has been one of UNH's top goal scorers the past two seasons. She had a breakout junior year in which she led the team in both goals (14) and points (32). This year, she has tallied 11 goals and 22 points to rank second on the squad in both statistics, and she also has an astounding .333 shooting percentage. In 78 career games, Hannah has recorded 26 goals and five assists for 57 points. Her accolades include America East Academic Honor Roll and All-Conference Second Team.
Casey Pohlmeyer has been a starter and integral part of both penalty corner units all four years at New Hampshire. This midfielder led the Wildcats in assists last year and is duplicating that feat as a senior with nine assists through 19 games. In 82 career games, Casey has compiled 17 goals and 21 assists for 55 points. The 21 assists ranks ninth in UNH's all-time leaderboard. Her collegiate accolades include America East Academic Honor Roll (three times), All-Conference First Team and All-Rookie Team.
Megan Bozek is another four-year starter and a stalwart on the defensive end of the field, including the penalty corner unit. In addition to consistently leading the team in defensive saves, she is also a key part to the success of the offensive penalty corner unit as she ranks third on this year's team in both goals and points. In 82 career games, Megan has tallied 28 goals and eight assists for 64 points. Her career accolades include NFHCA All-Academic Squad, America East Academic Honor Roll, America East All-Academic Team, All-Rookie Team, All-Conference Second Team, All-Conference First Team, America East Defensive Player of the Year, All-Region Second Team, All-Region First Team and All-America Third Team.
Shooting to Score
Meg Flatley leads the team in shots, but the volume of shots isn't the only reason she is UNH's top scorer. With 15 goals on 55 shots, Flatley has a very impressive .273 shooting percentage that is bested only by Hannah Richard (.333; 11g/33sh).
The Wildcats limited the opposition to single digits in shots seven times, which included three consecutive America East conference games against UMass Lowell (Oct. 25; five shots), Vermont (Oct. 27; two shots) and Fairfield (Nov. 1; three shots).
Cornering the Opposition
The Wildcats tallied more penalty corners than the opposition in 15 of 19 regular-season games, including every game during the current six-game win streak, and are 12-3 in those games; the 'Cats are 1-2 when the opponent has the advantage and 0-1 when the total is even.
In fact, UNH had a double-digit edge in corners three times – 15-2 at Dartmouth, 16-5 at Hofstra and 14-4 at Vermont – and recorded double digits a total of five times.
New Hampshire doubled up the America East conference in corners, 42-21. Maine, with nine, accounted for nearly half that total.
Three of the top four point producers are seniors – Hannah Richard, Megan Bozek, and Casey Pohlmeyer – but sophomore Meg Flatley sits atop the leaderboard. Here is a glance at the class breakdown with number of players per class indicated in parenthesis:
G (%) A (%) P (%)
Senior (4) 25 (47) 16 (46) 66 (47)
Junior (3) 2 (4) 6 (17) 10 (7)
Sophomore (8) 26 (49) 10 (29) 62 (44)
Freshman (4) 0 (0) 3 (9) 3 (2)
UNH scored the game's first goal in nine of 19 regular-season games and had a 7-2 record in those games – the two losses were to nationally-ranked Syracuse (Oct. 13) and Stanford (Sept. 6). The Wildcats were 6-4 when falling behind 1-0.
New Hampshire extended its 1-0 lead to two goals five times – all during the stretch of five consecutive shutouts spanning Oct. 18–Nov. 1.
It's a 35-minute game?
When leading at halftime, New Hampshire won seven of eight games – the lone loss was at nationally-ranked Stanford, when UNH led 1-0 in a 5-1 loss (Sept. 6). The Wildcats trailed at the half five times and went 2-3. A more frequent occurrence was a halftime tie, and UNH had a 4-2 record in those six games.
Made of Granite
The University of New Hampshire roster features three Granite State natives on its 19-player roster. Hannah Richard (Hopkinton), Maegan Grew (Hampton Falls) and Molly Heaney (East Kingston) all call New Hampshire home.
What Day is it?
UNH played a majority of its regular-season games on Friday and Sunday. The Wildcats were 5-3 on Friday and 7-2 on Sunday.
The semifinal game vs. Fairfield University will be New Hampshire's first Thursday game this season. The 'Cats are 1-1 on Saturday.
Seven of UNH's 19 regular-season games were decided by one goal, including three overtime games, and the Wildcats went 5-2. The 'Cats have won each of the last five games decided by one goal – the losses were to Ohio State (Sept. 1) and Providence College (Sept. 13).
UNH in the National Poll
New Hampshire debuted at No. 20 in the preseason poll. The Wildcats have bounced in and out of the polls throughout the season – always at No. 20. Here is a week-by-week recap of this season's polls:
Balducci Commandeers 'Cats
Robin Balducci, the America East Coach of the Year in 1998, 2000, 2010, 2011 and 2012, has guided UNH to 19 postseason appearances in her 23-year tenure as head coach. She has led the 'Cats to six America East regular-season titles and two conference tournament titles (1998, 2011) Balducci has guided the 'Cats to NCAA tournament appearances in 1998, 2000 and 2011.
Balducci has compiled a 23-year record of 235-223-4 with a 87-57-2 America East mark. She is the winningest coach in the program's history.
Balducci recorded her 200th career victory Sept. 16, 2011, when the Wildcats were 5-0 victors against Holy Cross at Memorial Field.
A Look Back at the Future
Back in August, the America East league coaches picked UNH to finish fourth in the final conference standings. Here is a comparison of the final standings and Preseason Poll:
Preseason Poll Final Standings
1. Albany (4) 24 1. UNH 5-0
2. UNH (1) 21 2. Albany 4-1
3. Maine (1) 18 3. Maine 3-2
4. Fairfield 12 4. Fairfield 2-3
5. UMass Lowell 8 5. UMass Lowell 1-4
6. Vermont 7 6. Vermont 0-5
Scouting the Stags
Fairfield University (Fairfield, Conn.) enters the America East Championship with an 11-6 overall record that include 2-3 in conference play and 5-5 on the road.
Following consecutive conference losses to Albany and New Hampshire, the Stags defeated Brown University, 6-1, in the Nov. 3 regular-season finale.
Fairfield ranks third in the America East in offense (2.97 goals per game) and fourth in defense (2.53 goals/game).
Felicitas Heinen leads the conference in points per game at 2.24; she has 16 goals and five assists for 37 points to lead the team in goals and points. Julie DePaeuw (9g, 3a) and Shealyn Testa (6g, 9a) are the next top point producers and Val Buurma has a team-high 10 assists.
Freshman goalkeeper Caitlin Bennett has started all 17 games and her stats include a 2.41 GAA, .664 save percentage and two shutouts.
Fairfield has recorded the edge in goals (54-43), shots (264-211) and penalty corners (139-90).
Scouting the Great Danes
The University at Albany enters the America East Championship with a 15-4 overall record, including 4-1 versus other teams in the conference. Coming off of a 5-1 win at UMass-Lowell on Nov. 2, the Great Danes are a perfect 8-0 away from their home field, including 1-0 in neutral-site games.
Albany ranks first in the America East in both offense and defense, scoring an average of 4.32 goals per game while only allowing 1.16 this season.
Paula Heuser ranks second in the conference in points per game (2.21), goals per game (0.84) and assists per game (0.53). Daphne Voormolen is third in both points/game (2.05) and goals/game (0.79) as well as fourth in assists/game (0.47). The high-powered offense also includes: Corrine McConville, who is No. 7 in points/game (1.26); Laura Page, who is No. 3 in assists/game (0.50); Liza Morgan, who is No. 7 in goals/game (0.59) and No. 8 in points/game (1.24); Kelly Bonner, who is No. 10 in goals/game (0.50) and points/game (1.19); and Daphne Voormolen and Fiori Van Rijswijk, who are tied at No. 4 in assists/game (0.47)
Freshman goalkeeper Maxi Primus has started each of the 18 games she has played. She is 13-4 with a 1.59 GAA, .691 save percentage and four shutouts.
Scouting the Black Bears
The University of Maine enters the America East Championship with an 11-8 record, including 3-2 in the conference, 5-3 on the road and 1-2 at neutral sites. The Black Bears have won each of their last two games – 9-1 versus Vermont in the Nov. 2 regular-season finale and 4-1 at Providence (Oct. 28).
Maine ranks second in the America East in both goals per game (3.37) and shots per game (19.89) as well as third in defense (1.95 goals/game).
Annabelle Hamilton ranks fourth in the conference in points averaging 1.84 per game; she is also fourth in assists/game (0.47) and fifth in goals/game (0.68). Holly Stewart is also among the point leaders at No. 6 (1.58/game) and is also sixth in goals/game (0.63).
Sophomore Natasha Ford has started all 18 games in which she has played. She has a 1.90 GAA and .717 save percentage, which ranks second in America East, with three shutouts.
GAME NOTES: Field Hockey Hosts 2013 America East Championship (Nov. 7 & 9)