Best scores three goals to propel Wildcats
DURHAM, N.H. -- Chiara Best (Rose Valley, Pa.) matched her career high of three goals and Lynn Gugliuzza (Kenmore, N.Y.), in her first career start, stopped all three shots on target to lead the University of New Hampshire women's soccer team to Sunday afternoon's 3-0 America East victory against UMBC at Lewis Fields.
UNH won its fourth consecutive game to improve to 6-4-2 overall and 2-0-0 in America East while UMBC lost its third straight to fall to 4-6-0, 0-2-0. The four-game winning streak is the Wildcats' longest since the 1999 squad also won four straight.
Best, who has seven goals in the past four games, gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the 41st minute when she trapped a midfield service from Lindsey Smagula (Bedford, N.H.) in the middle of the penalty area and fired a low shot inside the left post.
The Wildcats took that 1-0 lead - and an 11-3 shot advantage - into halftime. UMBC's pressure made it difficult for the 'Cats to move the ball out of their defensive end of the field early in the second half, but the 'Cats reestablished the control they displayed in the opening 45 minutes to extend the lead.
Best gave UNH a 2-0 advantage at 74:29. Caitlyn Serafine (Canandaigua, N.Y.) initiated the scoring play with a pass from the center of the field to the left wing, where Best, who had re-entered the game just 37 seconds earlier, shot the ball inside the near post. Best's third goal of the game, which moved her past Mary Beth Sydlowski into third place on UNH's career goals list at 31, came on a breakaway in the 78th minute as Rhyan Radack (Madbury, N.H.) played a through ball to midfield that sent Best behind the defense on the left wing.
The Retrievers continued to press with three forwards the rest of the way but could not score.
Gugliuzza improved to 3-0-0 this season by recording three saves. UMBC goalie Robin Babaris was credited with five saves.
UMBC had two good scoring opportunities in the first half. In the 19th minute, Jessica Young beat Gugliuzza to the ball at the top-right corner of the box and made a touch to the end line, where her centering pass across the goalkeeper box sailed out of the reach of her teammates. Minutes later, Mary Hearin's shot off a service from a corner kick was blocked at the left post by Hillary Mefferd (Portland, Ore.).
UNH returns to action Oct. 8 at home vs. Boston University. Game time at Lewis Fields is 3:30 p.m.