After a confidence boosting two-game win streak, the Wildcats returned to a familiar form in a crucial America East conference matchup.
UNH fell to 2-2 in conference play, dropping a 15-10 decision at home against the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Retrievers. Freshman midfielder Rylee Leonard and senior captain Marissa Gurello recorded three goals each, and junior goalkeeper Kate Clancy was just shy of double digits with nine saves in total. The Retrievers broke the game open with a six-goal run that put the Wildcats in a 14-8 hole they could not climb out of. The result now puts the Wildcats at 2-11 on the season.
UNH was able to develop some strong momentum at the beginning of the game, which included a four-goal spurt while overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to turn the tide at 16:29 in the first half. Junior midfielder Carly Wooters scored her 17th goal of the season to give UNH the 4-2 edge at that mark.
However, the Retrievers continued to prevent the ‘Cats from gaining any major ground on the scoreboard. UMBC tied the game at two different points in the first half and even regained the lead at 1:08 just before the first half ended. The Wildcats found themselves down 7-6 at the end of the first half, an all but familiar feeling for UNH as the team has only carried a lead into the second half once all season.
UMBC made its run starting at 23:17 in the second half. After the Wildcats tied the contest at eight apiece, Sam Nolan buried her 35th goal of the season with the assist from Sara Moeller. From there, UMBC benefited from 10 second-half turnovers committed by the Wildcats to break away.
Payton Van Kirk, Carolyn Jamison and Lauren McDonald all added to their respective point totals to make the score 14-8 Retrievers with 4:38 left in regulation. Amy Lebel and Leonard would bring the ‘Cats to double-digit goals with tallies in the final minutes, but ultimately, the Retrievers closed it out 15-10 with an empty net goal from Caitlyn Miller.
The Wildcats only have two games remaining in conference play. On Saturday, April 15, the Wildcats travel to the University at Albany to battle the Great Danes and then return home the following Saturday, April 22 to face the Binghamton University Bearcats. The team finishes the regular season with a non-conference matchup against the Boston University Terriers on Wednesday, April 26 at Wildcat Stadium. Friday’s loss makes the next two matchups that much more crucial for UNH as the America East playoff picture begins to take shape, drawing from the results around the league last weekend.
The playoff push begins on Saturday as the ‘Cats are set to play the Great Danes at John Fallon Field in Albany, New York at 12 p.m.