By ANDREW YOURELL
They say home is where the heart is.
For the Wildcats, the sanctuary of Memorial Field provided a welcome respite after a tough loss to the University at Albany, where the ‘Cats came out flat and failed to play with emotion. Against Vermont, that wasn’t an issue. UNH demolished the Catamounts on Friday in a 3-1 rout that wasn’t as close as the scoreboard might imply. They couldn’t replicate the success on Sunday when the No. 10 Boston College Eagles landed in Durham. Despite dropping a 4-2 non-conference decision, the Wildcats played a fast, physical, competitive game.
The weekend series brings UNH’s overall record to 5-7, though the win against Vermont raises its conference record above .500, to 2-1.
For UNH, the focus all week was on coming out and playing well in the America East conference matchup—the Boston College game was an afterthought, since it doesn’t affect the playoff standings. The Wildcats came out and suffocated Vermont in a lopsided tilt.
“We did most of the things we wanted to do,” Balducci said, “except for finish in the circle.”
Senior captain Meg Flatley came out and scored UNH’s first goal in the first 45 seconds of the game. Vermont was able to tally a goal of its own in the first, on its only shot on goal of the game, which UNH goalkeeper Melissa Rize was unable to stop.
The first half ended with both teams still knotted at 1-1, but UNH held a 9-2 shot advantage and had controlled the ball for most of the half. The Wildcats didn’t take their foots off the pedal, and fired 21 shots in the second half. But it took until the 66th minute before Lindsay Nerbonne’s shot off of a Chandler Giese pass beat Vermont goalie Lena Benwood to put UNH up for good. Nerbonne added an insurance goal with 2:36 left to play.
Balducci’s only complaint about her team was their lack of discipline in the circle. Unfortunately, against the Eagles, that lack of discipline was evident, as the ‘Cats allowed three goals off of penalty corners. The ‘Cats failed to get good shots off in the BC circle, but roughed up Eagles attackers too many times.
Three of BC’s four goals came from penalty corners, and the sloppy play was the only real mark against UNH’s defensive effort. The ‘Cats outshot BC 14-12, with an even 9-9 shots on goal mark.
But by the time Taylor Scafidi and Emma Compagna scored their second half goals, it was too late for the ‘Cats to mount a comeback, and they dropped the contest 4-2.
UNH will travel to Maine to take on the Black Bears on Friday, and then to Harvard on Sunday. The Maine game will be the next chance for UNH to improve its America East record.
Wildcats win conference matchup but drop decision to No. 10 Boston College
By ANDREW YOURELL