By Ben Nawn, Contributing Writer
The Wildcats (6-9) will travel to Burlington to battle the University of Vermont (10-6) in the ‘Cats’ last regular season game on Saturday, April 25. A trip to the America East Championship Tournament is on the line for both teams.
In their last game, the Wildcats were only able to muster up seven goals in a challenging 20-7 loss to the No. 4 Boston College Eagles. But head coach Sarah Albrecht is pleased with how her team has come together in the month of April to put themselves in a win or go home position.
“I think things are starting to click a little bit with some of our attack. It was a little slow going at the beginning of the season and overall we are understanding each other and the plays.”
Led by senior Kayleigh Hinkle and junior Laura McHoul, the Wildcats have been able to move the ball effectively and provide themselves with solid scoring chances. McHoul broke the program career assist record with her 102nd in Saturday’s loss to BC.
“She has brought a lot to the attack and has finally realized her potential and taken it into her own hands, which has been great to see as a coach,” Albrecht said.
The Catamounts must also win in order to move into the postseason. Senior Jessica Roach has been nearly unstoppable with the ball this season for Vermont, and is second in the conference with 54 goals, an average of 3.60 goals per game. Guided by Roach’s stellar play, the Catamounts will look to test a young UNH defensive unit.
“She is a good [one on one] player and she can take a lot of defenders to the net where we definitely will have to put some pressure on her,” Albrecht said. “It will be a team effort like it’s been all season long and we will have to make sure we are sliding to the ball and moving behind that.”
While the young Wildcats defense will be expected to step up against Vermont, the spotlight shines brightest on freshman goalkeeper Kate Clancy, who exited Saturday’s game early in the second half.
“She is definitely amped up and knows the stakes. She is a competitor and wants to do well and has been learning and getting experience throughout the whole year and trying to improve,” Albrecht said. “It is a hard thing to come in as a freshman and take over a starting position right away.”
The seniors have been instrumental to the team’s success as of late, and in what could be their last game as a Wildcat, Albrecht expects them to leave it all out on the field.
“They’re focused and a driven class. They want to get to the playoffs and they know this is the game they have to win.”
A win and they’re in. Saturday’s matchup will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the University of Vermont’s Virtue Field.