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‘Cats rally past River Hawks for second win

The Wildcats have their win streak.

After securing the first win of the season in a come-from-behind effort against the University of Vermont Catamounts, UNH once again overcame a first-half deficit and finished strong in the second victory of the season against the University of Massachusetts Lowell River Hawks by a 10-7 final. The Wildcats’ seven-goal surge in the second half was the difference in the matchup. Devon Croke tallied four goals, in addition to her five-point effort and Krissy Schafer added two goals of her own.

Much of the early season struggles had to do with UNH’s inability to gain control of major categories such as ground balls and minimal turnovers. Wednesday afternoon was a pleasant result for the Wildcats as UNH was able to control 23 ground balls as opposed to the River Hawks’ 13. The ‘Cats also peppered goalkeeper Courtney Barrett with 24 shots throughout the contest.

Given the result, the Wildcats’ efforts were met with heavy opposition from the opening draw. UMass Lowell was able to gain an early two-goal advantage to open the contest with goals coming from Jane Dudley and Austin Trasatti. Croke and Marissa Gurello got UNH on the board in the first half but the ‘Cats never held a lead through 30 minutes of play, and the River Hawks led 4-3 after the first half.

The second half was dominated by the ‘Cats offensively. UNH went on a seven consecutive goal run in a 15-minute span to ultimately put the game out of the River Hawks’ grasp. Michele Smith scored her first goal of the season and Teagan Northrup, Devan Miller and Rylee Leonard also joined the scoring effort alongside Schafer and Croke.

“I think that we started to pick up our hustle in the second half and that energy made a difference,” head coach Sarah Albrecht said. “We were more aggressive on defense and in the ride which caused some turnovers and we were able to come up with the [ground balls].”

The Wildcats now sit at fourth place in the America East conference standings at 2-1 overall behind the likes of the University at Albany, Binghamton University and Stony Brook University. In the last couple of matchups, the ‘Cats have found a rhythm in communication and have seen results in the offensive end because of it. Albrecht explains the biggest attribution to the team’s recent success has been its ability to generate a consistent offense.

“I think our biggest hump to get over has been putting the ball in the back of the net which takes all seven attackers to do. In the last couple of games we have been able to connect and communicate to each other better which has lead to our improvement on attack,” Albrecht said. “However, we still have a lot of work to do and we need to come to games with hustle and energy in order to compete in our conference.”

Next up, the Wildcats will host UMBC on Friday, April 7 at 12 p.m. at Wildcat Stadium.

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