DURHAM, N.C. – Carlie Tarbell (Wakefield, Mass.) recorded 10 saves but the 16th-ranked University of New Hampshire field hockey team was defeated 6-1 by fifth-ranked Duke University in Saturday's NCAA first round game at Williams Field at Jack Katz Stadium.
UNH, which gained an NCAA auto berth as the America East tournament champion, saw its eight-game win streak end and completes the 2013 season at 15-7. Duke, which received an at-large invitation out of the ACC, improved to 15-6.
Tarbell made six of her 10 saves in the second half, when the Blue Devils recorded an 11-3 shot advantage; Hannah Richard (Hopkinton, N.H.) scored UNH's goal. Emmie Le Marchand led Duke's offense with three goals and an assist while Lauren Blazing was credited with two saves.
The home team – the tournament No. 4 seed – broke open a close game in the second half with goals in the 47th, 57th, 62nd and 66th minutes.
Duke generated the first scoring opportunity in the eighth minute when Heather Morris' shot from the left wing was stopped by Tarbell. It led directly to the only penalty corner of the first half, however. Tarbell once again denied Morris and Aileen Johnson's shot off the rebound was blocked by a UNH defender.
The Blue Devils took a 1-0 lead at 9:54 when Le Marchand attacked down the middle of the circle, shifted to the right around Tarbell in the middle of the circle and fired a shot inside the near post. It marked the first time UNH surrendered the game's first goal since Oct. 11 vs. University of Maine.
New Hampshire threatened to score in the 19th minute, when Richard fired a shot from the top left that Blazing stopped with a kick save. Melyssa Woods (Glens Falls, N.Y.) corralled the rebound in the middle of the circle and her shot attempt ricocheted off a Duke's defender stick high over the cage.
Duke extended the advantage to 2-0 at 25:48 when Morris swept a low shot from the top left inside the far post.
UNH began to gain momentum, however, and trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 29:11. Meg Flatley (Townsend, Mass.) dribbled in from the top of the circle and, with her back to the cage, slipped a pass to the right and Richard snapped a one-timer inside the right side of the cage for her 14th goal of the season.
With four minutes remaining in the first half, Flatley advanced into the circle on the left side and shoveled a shot from close range wide of the near post. The 'Cats continued to pressure and Flatley struck another shot just wide.
Duke entered halftime with a 2-1 lead and 7-6 shot advantage. The Blue Devils regained momentum at the start of the second half and in the 40th minute, Le Marchand was stoned by Tarbell at the left post and Jessica Buttinger was also denied by Tarbell off the rebound in front. Two minutes later, Buttinger's blast from the right side was knocked down by Tarbell's blocker.
UNH generated pressure in the 45th minute to earn its first corner of the game. Following the insert and a series of four passes, Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) swept a reverse-stick shot from the middle of the circle wide right. The 'Cats were awarded another corner moments later and this time Bozek's low shot from the top right was blocked by a Duke defender.
The Blue Devils reestablished a two-goal lead, 3-1, at 46:03. When Hunter Bracale dribbled into the circle on the right side and fired a shot inside the far post.
Three minutes later, Devon Gagliardi's high shot from the right wing was stopped by Tarbell's blocker. UNH called a timeout at 49:37, but two minutes later it was Duke knocking on the door as Robin Blazing was denied by Tarbell twice at the left post.
Duke extended the advantage to 4-1 at 56:33 when Gagliardi's bounding centering pass from the right wing was batted out of the air by Le Marchand into the cage.
With 11 minutes remaining, Casey Pohlmeyer (Millersville, Md.) utilized a quick restart just outside the top of the circle to blast a reverse-stick line drive that sailed over the crossbar. UNH did not record another shot the rest of the way.
The Blue Devils took a 5-1 lead at 61:57. On a penalty corner, Paula Heimbach swung a pass from the top of the circle to the right side, where Le Marchand's strike was redirected high into the cage by Abby Beltrani. Le Marchand scored her third goal of the game and closed the scoring when her shot from the top right bounced inside the left post.
The end of the 2013 season marked the end of UNH careers for seniors Bozek, Pohlmeyer, Richard and Woods. The quartet led the Wildcats to four consecutive America East regular-season crowns, two conference tournament titles and two NCAA tourney appearances.