Rausch, van Oosterom Propel Teams To Title Game
DURHAM, N.H.-- The top two seeds advanced to the 2011 America East Field Hockey Championship title game after top-seeded University of New Hampshire and second-seeded Boston University won semifinal tilts Friday afternoon. UNH (16-4) and Boston U. (11-8) will square-off 1 p.m. on Sunday at Memorial Field in Durham, N.H. for an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats and Terriers shared the regular-season crown.
In the first semifinal Friday at Memorial Field, the hosts avenged last week's regular-season loss to fourth-seeded University at Albany (13-7) with a 1-0 victory.
The only goal of the game came with just under three minutes remaining in the game off the stick of first-team all-conference forward Hayley Rausch. Teammate Whitney Frates, the America East Offensive Player of the Year, sped up the right sideline and fed a pass to Emma Erler in the right corner. Erler centered a pass to Rausch who put the ball away from the left post.
Albany dominated the first-half statistics and had the advantage in ball possession, outshooting the Wildcats 6-1 in the first frame. Each team gained three penalty corner opportunities, but the Great Danes forced New Hampshire's second-team all-conference senior goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast to make four saves. The league's Goalkeeper of the Year, Albany's Kristi Troch, did not have to record a first-half stop.
The Wildcats picked up more offensive opportunities in the second half, getting off four shots to Albany's none in the second session with Troch coming up with three saves.
Frates received a yellow card in the 62nd minute and had to sit out for five minutes while UNH played a person down. Less than a minute after returning to the field, the senior initiated the play which led to the game-winning goal.
The shutout was Nagengast's fourth on the season and third against a ranked opponent.
In the second game of the day, Boston U. jumped out to a 1-0 advantage at the five-minute mark against third-seeded University of Maine (16-4) and never looked back. Defensive Player of the Year Jacinda McLeod put the Terriers up with a penalty corner goal, her eighth tally of the season.
After the first 35:00 of play, the score remained 1-0, while penalty corners were even at 3-3. The Terriers held an 8-7 advantage in shots.
Boston U. struck again early in the second period with another penalty corner goal. First-team all-conference junior Nicole van Oosterom scored her first of two goals at 39:18 with a low shot that got past Black Bear netminder Brittany Fleck.
Nearly thirty minutes later at 65:16, van Oosterom upped the Terriers' lead to 3-0 with an unassisted goal. After driving up the right-side baseline, the midfielder lifted a shot over the goalkeeper and just inside the left post. Macey Gaumond, a second-team all-conference pick, rounded out the scoring at 66:30 with the assist going to McLeod.
Boston U.'s Ysi Schieb and Kat Spring each finished with two assists, while co-Rookie of the Year Valentina Cerda made seven saves in net for the Terriers.
Maine put eight shots on goal to Boston U.'s 10. Senior defender Lelia Sacre and Midfielder of the Year Stephanie Gardiner each placed two shots on the cage to lead the Black Bears. Fleck finished with five saves.
Sunday's final marks the first meeting between the Terriers and Wildcats in the final since 2000. UNH is hoping for their second America East Championship and first since 1998, while Boston U. is in search of the program's ninth league crown after most recently winning it all back in 2009.
2011 America East Field Hockey Championship
All games at University of New Hampshire's Memorial Field, Durham, N.H.
Friday, November 4 - Semifinals
#1 New Hampshire 1, #4 Albany 0
#2 Boston U. 4, #3 Maine 0
Sunday, November 6 - Final
#2 Boston U. at #1 New Hampshire, 1 p.m.