Nicole Grote set a new career-high in points to pace the Wildcats in a 16-6 victory over Holy Cross on Wednesday. The win ends a three-game losing streak and lifts the Wildcats to 2-3 on the season.
Holy Cross got onto the board first, scoring 1-minute, 23-seconds into the game, but Grote answered with her first goal less than a minute later and the Wildcats built a strong 7-1 lead throughout the first half. Grote had a hat trick in the first half, but the Wildcats also scored on efforts from Catherine Sexton, Krissy Schafer, Laura McHoul and Marissa Gurello.
“Definitely a team win,” Grote said. “I think we had five or six girls with points, so that was awesome.”
The Wildcats in fact had eight players score at least one goal in the win, with McHoul. Sexton, Schafer and Gurello all tallying multiple goals.
The Crusaders made a small comeback in the waning minutes of the first half, sneaking two goals past Wildcat goaltender Kate Clancy to make the score 7-3. Both goals came with less than three minutes left.
The second half opened with another Holy Cross goal, a mere 18 seconds into play. But the ‘Cats were quick to respond again, as McHoul beat Holy Cross goaltender Julia Maloney for her second goal of the game.
“Well I had assists, so my teammates put the ball away,” Grote said. The senior co-captain stressed that the team brought energy to this game after losing three tough games in a row.
After losing their comfortable six-goal lead, the Wildcats responded with a furious attack and a stifling defensive effort that gave the Crusaders very little chance to gain ground.
McHoul’s goal made the score 8-4, and goals from Schafer, sophomore Carly Wooters and McHoul’s third goal gave UNH an 11-4 lead with 24:08 to play. But UNH’s offensive outpouring didn’t stop there.
Grote scored her fourth goal, then Gurello her second of the game. Devan Miller and Devon Croke got involved with a score apiece, before former America East Rookie of the Week Sexton added her second tally of the game. The 16-4 lead was enough to give UNH a running clock, and the Crusaders’ final two goals came with less than 3:30 to play.
One reason the Wildcats were able to control the ball from the faceoff. The team outdrew Holy Cross 10-1 in the first half and 18-5 overall, allowing the UNH attack to keep the ball and chew time off the clock and to set up good scoring opportunities.
“Devan Miller did a great job throughout the game of drawing to herself, and getting the draw control and running through it,” UNH head coach Sarah Albrecht said. Miller handled faceoff duties for most of the game and won 10 draws on her own.
Defensively, the Wildcats were stout, forcing a number of errant shots and causing turnovers before Holy Cross could get good looks. The few times the Crusaders could fire off a quality shot, Clancy was there to aid the defensive effort. The sophomore goalkeeper tallied four saves in 43:15 of play before Sarah Lambert took over late in the game.
“We were just being aggressive on defense, and I think having a support system behind and playing as a team, that really helped out this game,” Albrecht said. “[Clancy’s] been doing well all year and being really consistent for us. She put in a lot of work in the offseason so I think that is showing right now.”
The eight points Grote scored raised her career totals to 52 goals and 30 assists, allowing her to surpass 80 career points. Her co-captain, McHoul, continued to cement herself as one of the program’s top scoring threats of all time. Her three-goal effort raised her career total to 71 goals, and an assist on Sexton’s first goal means that McHoul now has 178 career points.
Wooters’ goal marked her fifth straight game with a goal.
The Wildcats will try to channel Wednesday’s team energy into another win when they face off with Fairfield University at Cowell Stadium on Saturday at 12 p.m. Grote feels as though the team is prepared for another strong showing.
“We have a big game Saturday,” she said. “I think we’re already ready for the next one.”

Executive Editor