The University of New Hampshire Field Hockey team was able to claw their way to victory over the University of Vermont Catamounts 3-1 on Sunday. After a tough loss to the defending America East champion Albany Great Danes on Friday, the Wildcats were able to muster up offense and get back into the win column ending their five-game losing streak.
In Burlington, Vermont, the Wildcats were finally able to stop the trend of allowing the first goal as they answered at 3:51 into the contest. Aggie Sutherland got the scoring started as she fired one past Lena Benwood to register her first goal of the season.
“It was great to score within the first five minutes and grab control against a good team” head coach Robin Balducci said.
The Wildcats shined defensively against the Catamounts and it proved to be beneficial in the victory. Balducci mentioned Friday that the defense wasn’t sustaining pressure and Sunday, her team responded.
“We played well defensively and it benefited Rudert who played great, but did not have to see as much action today,” Balducci said. “Really proud of how our team came to play coming off a loss.”
After the Catamounts tied the game late in the first half, the Wildcats were able to bite the bullet and come out firing in the second half.
Outshooting Vermont 18-5, the Wildcats began the second half on a bright note. Kayla Sliz found the back of net for the first time this year. Senior captain Lindsey Nerbonne was able to generate offensive pressure on the far side of the offensive zone and centered a pass right for Sliz. It was a goal that turned the tide.
Key saves from Rudert and aggressive defense kept the Catamounts off the scoreboard and late in the second half, Nerbonne capitalized. Jump-started from the lead pass, she dribbled her way up into the circle and scored.
The Wildcats never looked back and the final tally of three goals on 28 total shots proved to be the difference. Vermont was stifled defensively early and often and at the end only gave up five shots and one on goal that Rudert saved. Nerbonne provided the offense with seven shots in the winning effort.
On Friday, Balducci alured to the fact that the Wildcats were not generally looking at the outcome against Albany as a detriment, recognizing how good the team is. All and all, she was most intrigued by how her team would play and respond. Although, they showed signs of weakness, she saw spurts of quality in Friday’s loss to the Great Danes.
“If Albany ends up in first [place], okay we get another shot at them, but say we end up in second or third [place] that’s important,” Balducci said. “You make the tournament and can make changes if you get there. We can’t get lost in this [game] and Vermont is the biggest game of the weekend. I told them you can’t get lost in what is not important and focus on what is [important].”
The Wildcats who are are 3-7 overall and 1-1 in conference travel Friday, Oct. 6 to Lowell, Massachusetts to take on the Umass Lowell River Hawks, who are 0-1 in conference play. That game is set to begin at 7 p.m.