UNH prepares for weekend homestand
Published: Friday, September 13, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 13, 2013 02:09
The UNH field hockey team has started the season 1-3, but its record is deceiving; the team took a road trip to Philadelphia and flew to California for its first four games. Their first loss came at the hands of the No. 2 overall team in the country, Maryland, on Aug 31. Despite the score of 8-4, head coach Robin Balducci was optimistic about her team’s performance.
“Quite frankly, I thought we played really well against Maryland,” Balducci said. “We gave up three, what I thought were, ‘soft goals’ that we would defend very differently [now] just by the way we play, so to me as a coach that tells me we’re there, we’re okay.
“The second half was a 2-2 game. We stayed with our gameplan and didn’t have to change anything to compete with Maryland, which is a step in the right direction for where we want to be.”
Its second loss was a 3-2 shootout loss to Ohio State. The Buckeyes got on the board first, but UNH answered before the end of the first half and scored again just four minutes into the second half to take a 2-1 lead. In the closing seconds, however, Ohio State scored the game-tying goal with just five seconds remaining to send it into overtime.
“We had what I consider a mental breakdown and didn’t put the game away,” Balducci said. “We controlled the game well, I was happy with that and our overtime [play]. For the amount of possession time we had, I was disappointed we didn’t generate more scoring [opportunities].”
The following weekend, the team traveled to California to take on Stanford and Pacific. Against the Cardinal, the Wildcats took an early lead less than two minutes into the start, but allowed five unanswered goals, including four in the second half, to a final score of 5-1.
“I think [the game against] Stanford should have been a 3-1, 3-2 game,” Balducci said. “We gave up a penalty stroke on a bad defensive play and allowed two penalty corner [goals]. Other than that, I thought we moved the ball well and attacked when we had possession.”
The ‘Cats got their first win on September 8 in a 3-1 contest versus Pacific.
Trailing 1-0 early in the first, sophomore Meg Flatley lifted the team with her fourth goal of the season to tie it up.
In the second, seniors Hannah Richard and Megan Bozek each netted a goal to bring the game to its final score.
“We need to generate more out of our quality play and top players,” Balducci said. “Against Pacific, it was 3-1 but I felt like it could have been a whole lot more based on our possession time.”
Flatley leads the team in scoring with 10 points (four goals, two assists), with Richard and Bozek in second with four points apiece (two goals each).
Junior goalkeeper Carlie Tarbell earned the America East Defensive Player of the Week honors for her play against Stanford and Pacific, amassing 34 saves and a .680 goals against average through four games.
The Wildcats will take on Providence this Friday at 7 p.m. on Memorial Field and Northeastern this Sunday at 2 p.m. Providence has a record of 2-2 this season while Northeastern is 2-1, with their only loss coming at the hands of No. 11 Northwestern.
“Both teams are very good, they’re well coached, very disciplined, and we see them all the time since they’re New England opponents,” Balducci said. “They’re going to be able to manipulate us and challenge us in different ways. What I’m looking for is how do we manage that and do we read the situations well enough to win those games.
“If we want to move ourselves forward and play at a higher level, we need to take care of business in the region.”