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Wildcats fall to Huskies, turn focus to conference play

The UNH Wildcats field hockey team ended its four game road trip with a loss to the Northeastern Huskies 3-1 on Sunday.
Five straight road losses have sunk the Wildcats to a 2-6 overall record, but as they head home to begin conference play, confidence exists amongst the team.
In the game versus the Huskies, Ashley Mendonca was able to improve on her great year with her seventh goal of the season. Trailing 3-0 in the second half, Mendonca dribbled up through the middle past the 25-yard mark and shot one past goalkeeper Becky Garner. Leading the team with three shots on goal, Mendonca and the Wildcats were able to once again match the opposing team statistically, but were not able to lead in the column that matters most, scoring.
Senior captain Lindsey Nerbonne, who took four shots withone on goal, attests to the fact the Wildcats are pushing, but can’t find a way to win.
“We need to win 50-50 battles and be scrappy in front of the net. We have to make things happen in the offensive 25 in any way possible.” Nerbonne said.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Rudert made seven saves on 10 shots ,while Katie Audino added two shots on goal, but it was not enough for the Wildcats. Five minutes in, they fell behind early as Northeastern cashed in on June Curry-Lindahl’s fifth goal of the year, and from there, the Huskies secured the lead and win the rest of the way through.
Throughout the road trip, the Wildcats have won most of the statistical battles against teams such as Miami-Ohio, Indiana, James Madison and now Northeastern, but have allowed the first goal in each game. They have been outscored 17-6 in those four games as well. Being as prepared as possible for upcoming practices has become the mentality, and Nerbonne believes it will benefit them in conference play which begins Friday versus the Albany Great Danes.
“We have to bring an upbeat, but intense attitude to practice this week. It’s all about our preparation and feeling ready and confident. We can do big things,” Nerbonne said.
Mendonca, a junior, has improved in each game and with another goal to her credit, the ceiling is looking very high, and Nerbonne notices.
“[Mendonca has] been doing big things for us especially in high pressure moments. It’s awesome she brings that,” she said.
This past week head coach Robin Balducci was enshrined into the NFHCA (National Field Hockey Coaches Association) Hall of Fame and as conference play begins Friday, a win would feel even better. The Wildcats take on the Great Danes Friday before going on the road once again to challenge the Vermont Catamounts and University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks.
With the team confident and moving forward, Nerbonne said they are on to Albany.
“It was a tough road trip, but a lot was learned. We just got to put it aside and move forward to thinking about Albany,” she said.
For more information on UNH field hockey, follow Ben on Twitter @nonawnsense.

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