For the first time this season, the Wildcats have a winning streak.
Krissy Schafer’s game-tying goal with six seconds left in regulation against Binghamton knotted the game at eight apiece and forced overtime in Vestal, N.Y. Only 62 seconds later, sophomore midfielder Carly Wooters scored the overtime winner for UNH, and completed the come-from-behind win against the Bearcats by a 9-8 final score. The Wildcats have now won two consecutive games and hold an undefeated 2-0 America East conference record.
Despite the pressure that mounted in the late minutes of the game, head coach Sarah Albrecht was impressed with the effort her team put forth in the waning minutes.
“I was proud of our team for showing patience, poise and trust in each other to do their jobs,” Albrecht said. “It’s what made a difference for us in the final minutes against a scrappy team.”
The Wildcats played from behind the entire game until Schafer’s game-tying goal to end regulation. The uphill climb started when Bearcat midfielders Valerie DeNapoli, Callon Williams and Olivia Batista put the ‘Cats in a 3-0 hole in the first six minutes. Rebecca Sennott got on the board seconds after to make it 3-1, then the battle for momentum began. Both teams traded off pairs of goals with neither team allowing more than a two-goal advantage. The half concluded with Binghamton carrying a slight edge over UNH in the score column, 6-4.
UNH continued to chip away for the majority of the second half, but Binghamton would not relinquish its lead easily. Eleven second half turnovers on the Bearcats’ part allowed the Wildcats an opportunity to draw even. Wooters and Schafer made sure UNH made good on its chance and for the first time this season, the Wildcats won a game in which they didn’t hold a single lead.
The team has now put together two consecutive winning efforts, and Albrecht attributes the success to the team’s confidence and on field execution.
“Confidence is a big thing to have during conference play but it is something built, not on the wins that we have had, but on the small wins on the field of executing game plan, executing fundamentals, competing and gelling together as a team,” Albrecht said. “I believe that we are starting to do those things during games and if we keep on focusing in on those small wins then we will keep on getting better as a team, which is our ultimate goal during the season.”
Several Wildcat players have contributed in the past two wins against America East opponents. With the bulk of the conference schedule coming up, Albrecht believes the team is hitting its stride at the right time.
“I believe the team is starting to come together as a team as we hit conference play. They are starting to figure out their own strength and weaknesses as well as their teammates’ strength and weaknesses,” Albrecht said. “Not everyone can do everything in a game, but if everyone contributes their piece of the puzzle we can have a great combination out there.”
The Wildcats face another tough test on Saturday when they return home to take on the University of Vermont Catamounts in the “All ‘Cats Wear Pink” game starting at 6 p.m.