Junior goalkeeper Kate Clancy made a game-saving stop in the final seconds of regulation to keep the score tied 10-10 with the College of Holy Cross Crusaders at the end of regulation.
At that point, the hope of a win was still alive for the Wildcats. Only minutes later was it realized that yet another game had come and gone where the Wildcats have not recorded a win.
A back and forth battle ended in heartbreaking fashion for UNH, as the team dropped its fourth in a row, an 11-10 overtime loss against the Crusaders. Devon Croke and Marissa Gurello potted a hat trick each and Clancy finished the afternoon with eight saves. Despite doubling UNH’s turnover total of 15, the Crusaders erased an early four-goal deficit to tie the game, their only lead the entire game was the overtime game-winner.
“On defense we didn’t stay balanced in our approach to the ball, despite [Mary Patalita] being in a low angle area, we fouled and gave her a free position shot,” head coach Sarah Albrecht said about the game-winning score. “She was able to capitalize on her opportunity and put it past Clancy.”
Gurello and Croke propelled UNH to its early lead with strong positioning leading to a scoring flurry. However, the Crusaders took advantage of their man-up opportunites. At two points in the first half, the Crusaders cashed in on extra-man advantages, leading to a one goal deficit, 5-4 at 6:48. Carly Wooters rounded out the first half with a goal of her own to bring the lead to 6-4 and give the Wildcats momentum going into the second frame.
Holy Cross would eventually tie the game at six with two quick shots that found their way past Clancy to open the second half. The rest of the contest was held close, with no team gaining more than a two-goal edge. Holy Cross overtook the ‘Cats in the final minutes as Crusaders’ midfielder Patalita scored the equalizer with the clock winding down in regulation, as well as the game-winner in the second period of overtime.
The Wildcats have been beaten in the draw control category in three of four games this season. On Wednesday vs. Holy Cross, UNH was bested in draw controls 14-9. Despite losing the draw control battle, UNH picked up more ground balls and outshot Holy Cross throughout the entire contest.
“I think there was some positives at the beginning of the game with draws and scoring opportunities but we have to be able to keep stepping on the gas pedal to put a team away,” Albrecht said. “Things aren’t going to change unless they make adjustments.”
The loss in Worcester, Massachusetts brings the Wildcats to 0-4 on the season. The road ahead remains difficult for UNH as they next travel to Fairfield, Connecticut to take on the Fairfield University Stags. In a matchup against the Stags on March 5, 2016, the ‘Cats were handled by a final score of 16-6. UNH will return home for a matchup against the UMass Amherst Minutemen before traveling out west to take on California programs such as the University of Southern California (USC) and San Diego State University.