March 2, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - En route to a 13-win season and their first NCAA Tournament berth in four years last season, the New Hampshire Wildcats knocked off Yale 8-7 and snapped a 13-game winning streak in the series for the Bulldogs. Yale visits No. 14 UNH this Wednesday (3:00 p.m., Live Stats) looking to resume its winning ways.
The Bulldogs were ranked No. 10 in the country at the time they hosted New Hampshire last season, but the Wildcats jumped out to a 6-2 lead and then held off a Yale rally fueled by midfielder Lauren Taylor '08, who finished with six of her team's seven goals. New Hampshire limited the Bulldogs to seven shots in the second half and won four of six draw controls in that frame to negate any Yale comeback hopes.
Yale (1-1) has outscored its first two opponents 12-6 in the second half this year, but as last year's game with the Wildcats showed, that trend will face a stiff test Wednesday. The Bulldogs will be going up against a New Hampshire team that has allowed only five second-half goals in three games, an average of 1.7 per game. That included allowing No. 15 Dartmouth only two goals and just eight second-half shots last Saturday. In that same game, the Wildcats also limited the Big Green to a 21-for-31 performance on clears.
Balanced scoring has been the key to Yale's offense in the early going, as five different players have scored goals. Junior attacker Jenna Block (Owings Mills, Md.) has already matched her assist total from all of last season and leads the team in points (4-3-7). Senior midfielder Jenn Warden (Edgemont, Pa.) has a team-high six goals, followed closely by junior attacker Jessica Sturgill (Ellicott City, Md.). Warden also leads the team in ground balls (six), draw controls (four) and caused turnovers (four).
New Hampshire (2-1) opened its season with a 19-2 win over Bryant and a 19-4 win at Holy Cross before falling 10-8 at Dartmouth. Attacker Sarah Von Bargen leads the Wildcats in scoring (13-2-15). Defender Allie Duclos, the America East Defensive Player of the Week last week, has a team-high 10 ground balls. Kate Gunts and Nikki Hume have both seen time in goal, combining for a 5.33 goals-against average and a .385 save percentage.
Report by Sam Rubin '95 (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yale Sports Publicity