‘Cats prepare to host BC
Published: Friday, October 4, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 4, 2013 02:10
The University of New Hampshire field hockey team is preparing for a tough weekend series, starting with No. 9 Boston College at home on Friday and then traveling to Long Island to face the Hofstra Pride.
After a rocky 0-3 start to their season, the Wildcats have won five of their last six games and have jumped to No. 20 in the national rankings. UNH is 1-2 versus ranked opponents and boasts an overall record of 5-4.
“[It’s] a huge weekend,” head coach Robin Balducci said. “The Friday game against UMass is probably as close to identical as this Friday with the style [of play], ranking and significance.
“We’re going to need to get a lot of opportunities in order to get those quality [scoring chances],” Balducci added.
Last weekend, UNH was outshot (26-21) and had fewer penalty corners (14-13) than its opponents.
“[They’re a] good team,” Balducci said. “Good defenders and tactically strong, so you can’t depend on five or seven shots and have a shot at winning the game.
“[Penalty corners] is the strongest part of our game, as it should be. If you look at our corner unit, it has the core of our top performers (Sophomore Meg Flatley, Seniors Casey Pohlmeyer, Megan Bozek, Hannah Richard, Melyssa Woods)…the core of our set pieces have been together, realistically, three years now.”
Flatley opted to redshirt her freshman year, allowing her to practice with the team and build that rapport with her teammates.
Boston College currently stands at fifth in the Atlantic Coast Conference with a record of 8-2, a conference which has six of the top 10 ranked teams in the nation (Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Syracuse, BC and Wake Forest).
The Eagles’ only losses have come at the hands of two previous UNH opponents, No. 14 UMass and No. 2 Maryland.
UNH beat then-No.7 UMass 3-2 in overtime on Sept. 27 and lost to Maryland 8-4 in its first game of the season.
Flatley leads the Wildcats in scoring with 18 points (8g, 2a) after her two-goal performance against Harvard. Senior captain Pohlmeyer leads the team in assists with six.
“She’s just a playmaker, that’s the nature of her game,” Balducci said. “She’s a set-up player: she plays in the middle of our field and distributes the ball, she has great vision and great skill in her distribution and sweeping.”
Goaltender Carlie Tarbell received America East Defensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after last Sunday’s game against Harvard.
Tarbell currently has a 2.40 GAA and .709 save percentage on the season, and is third in the conference in saves per game (6.2).
Despite the team’s hot streak, Balducci was quick to shoot down the notion that the streak would affect their play.
“We haven’t talked about [the streak] at all,” Balducci said. “Realistically, we’re in that situation this year where we’ve had a really tough schedule to make us take another step forward.
“It’s the rare athlete who can be 100 percent on no matter who is on the other side of the field. That’s the risk of our schedule when you play the top-ranked teams…are you a championship team? Can you bring it ever day? That’s the step we’re looking for: How do we work as a unit on the field and don’t have to wait until halftime to make changes.”