DURHAM, N.H. — In their final game of the season, the University of New Hampshire (4-7,3-6) hosted Hartford (0-9,0-9). The Wildcats dominated this game, only trailing at one point all day which ended with a final score of 15-10.
UNH head coach Sarah Albrecht expressed her main takeaway from the final game of the 2021 spring season.
“I was really happy with our seniors and I think they just really wanted to go out with a bang,” said Coach Albrecht. “That was the biggest takeaway I had, to just see them all play well in their last game.”
The game started off with a Hartford goal. Senior attacker Debbie Phillips assisted first-year defender Dylan Halloran less than a minute into action. This goal was the Hawks only lead of the day.
The ‘Cats bounced back fast with four straight goals in less than seven minutes. Senior midfielder Gabby Masseur tied the game at one with an unassisted goal in the fourth minute. Senior midfielder Elizabeth Blanding followed up with an unassisted goal five minutes later. This was her first of five on the day which led the Wildcats to victory.
Senior midfielder Julia Neyland and graduate student midfielder Rylee Leonard each got in on the action to make the score 4-1 in favor of UNH.
Junior midfielder Jessica Harrison cut the deficit to two with an unassisted goal with 17:24 to play in the first half. However, about three minutes later Blanding was assisted by Leonard to once again give UNH a three goal lead.
The back and forth affair continued when Hartford got back on the board as Halloran was assisted by senior attacker Megan Miller for her second goal of the game with 13:30 to go.
UNH went on a three goal tear thanks to sophomore attacker Liv Dunn, Blanding and Leonard. Dunn was assisted by Blanding in the 18th minute. Blanding and Leonard each followed up with unassisted goals of their own.
The first half was wrapped up by Halloran with her third goal of the game. This one was unassisted and took place with just under two minutes remaining. This gave Hartford their fourth goal on the day and cut the UNH lead to four heading into halftime.
Hartford started off the second half right where they left off. Sophomore midfielder Shannon Tuozzo scored an unassisted goal about one minute out of halftime.
Not long after, Neyland scored two straight unassisted goals to put the Wildcats up 10-5.
The Hawks answered with another unassisted goal from Harrison in the 36th minute. It seemed that for every Hartford goal the ‘Cats had another two to throw back at them and this continued to be the case as Masseur and Blanding scored back to back unassisted goals.
Tuozzo scored her second of the game with 13:52 to play but the Hawks were once again met with back to back Wildcat goals. Neyland assisted first-year midfielder Kailee Woods at 9:54 and Blanding was assisted by senior attacker Sabrina Grovom. This put the ‘Cats up 14-7 with just over nine minutes remaining in their season.
Senior Hartford attacker Birdie Montes assisted Harrison with 7:56 to play.
UNH responded a minute later with Woods’ second goal of the day. She was assisted by Blanding. This was the Wildcats final score of the season.
This assist by Blanding notched her seventh point on the day which is a career high for the senior.
The last two goals of the game were scored by Hartford’s senior midfielder Kaitlyn D’Andrea. Both goals were unassisted but amounted to nothing as the Hawks fell to the Wildcats by a 15-10 final.
Junior Wildcat goalkeeper Issy Torres recorded 14 saves in the season finale.
Albrecht noted the difficulties of the season but is excited to see what her group can do next season.
“It was definitely a tough season, but obviously one we will never forget with everything that has been going on,” Coach Albrecht explained. “We have a lot of talent coming back and I am looking forward to seeing what the dynamic is with being able to work with them and trying to get better every single day.”
Following Saturday’s victory, three Wildcats were honored with All-Conference selections. Graduate student Tatum Benesh was named to the America East (AE) All-Conference First Team. Leonard and Neyland were each named to the AE All-Conference Second Team.
Photo courtesy of China Wong.