WOMEN'S SOCCER DROPS HEARTBREAKER TO URI, 2-1
BOX

DURHAM, N.H.
– Freshman Carole LeBlanc (Grand-Digue, New Brunswick) scored her first collegiate goal, but the University of New Hampshire women’s soccer team lost a 2-1, double-overtime thriller to the University of Rhode Island on Sunday afternoon in the team’s home opener at Cowell Stadium.
   
The loss drops the Wildcats to 1-3-1 on the young season, while the Rams grab their first win of 2008 and are also 1-3-1.
   
With just under five minutes remaining in the second overtime session, a loose ball off a Kassandra Spitler corner kick created a scrum in front of the UNH net. Agnes Arnadottir headed the bouncing ball, which ricocheted off the knee of Sarah Helldoerfer, off the crossbar and into the net to give the Rams the come-from-behind win with 4:35 left on the clock.
Caitlin Whelan

   
The Wildcats jumped on the board first in the 50th minute when senior Caitlin Whelan (Weymouth, Mass.) pushed the ball up the middle of the field to the top of the box, where she found LeBlanc on her left. LeBlanc’s low shot towards the right corner of the net got by URI goalkeeper Jackie Fede to give UNH a 1-0 lead. The assist was the first of the year for Whelan, who led last year’s team with seven helpers.
   
Five minutes later, the Rams picked up their intensity and attacked the UNH net, looking for the equalizer. Blasts by Erese Fair and Adrienne Rue Lishcke rattled off the crossbar, while a third chance – a Ruhe Lishcke header – missed the open net wide to the right.
   
The Wildcats then went on the offensive, producing four breakaways by junior Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) that were all turned away by Fede.
   
Rhode Island finally netted the equalizer when a UNH turnover right in front of UNH goalkeeper Ally Yost (Langhorne, Pa.) put the ball on the foot of Ruhe Lishcke, who booted it into the right corner of the net with 3:49 left in regulation.

Both overtimes provided furious action and great chances for both teams. UNH’s best opportunity came with 6:08 left in the second overtime when a ball was played over the top to senior Julie O’Shaughnessy (Manchester, N.H.), who was 1-on-1 with Fede. The Wildcat captain chipped the ball over Fede’s head after the goalie had come way out to challenge her, but the ball skipped just to the right of the post and out of bounds.
   
URI had its chances during a five-minute span in the first overtime when a flurry of shots were turned away by Yost. Ruhe Lischke and Fair both had shots from inside the box that Yost made saves on, diving to her right. Arnadottir had the last two opportunities, first when she was robbed point-blank near the right corner of the net, and again when her blast off a feed from Fair was snatched away by a diving Yost. Yost recorded seven saves, including those four in the first overtime. Fede made 11 saves for the Rams.
   
Neither team ever really grabbed control in the first half. The Rams started to assert themselves in the first 10 minutes before their threats were thwarted by good defensive plays by sophomore Amy Avitabile (Pembroke, Mass.) and junior Jenna Duncan (Ivyland, Pa.). URI had a great chance in the 18th minute when Yost was down and out, leaving an empty net, but the UNH backfield cleared the ball out.
   
Momentum swung the Wildcats’ way over the next 20 minutes, highlighted by a trio of chances for Kaplan, Hourihan and junior Morgan Keefe (So. Burlington, Vt.), which all went wide.
   
The Rams had one final chance with four minutes left before halftime when a shot headed toward an empty UNH net was saved by junior Meg Wiley (Norwell, Mass.).
   
The ‘Cats return to action Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m. when they play host to Harvard University under the lights at Bremner Field.
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