Updated: November 07, 2011 4:11 pm (ET)
by America East Communications
DURHAM, N.H.-- Top-seeded University of New Hampshire captured the program's second-ever America East Field Hockey Championship on Sunday afternoon at their own Memorial Field. Senior forward Hayley Rausch, the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lead the Wildcats to a 4-2 win over #2 Boston University.
UNH earned the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Championship, whose field of 16 teams will be revealed exclusively on NCAA.com on Tues., Nov. 8 at 8 p.m.
The Wildcats (17-4) won their first America East Championship since 1998 after hosting the tournament as the number one seed for the second straight year. UNH, led by the America East Coaching Staff of the Year, tied the program single-season win mark set by the 1986 national runner-up team with the title game victory.
Rausch, who scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win over Albany in the semifinal round, finished the tournament with seven points on three goals and an assist. The first-team all-conference honoree scored her 24th goal on the season at 2:13 to get the Wildcats on the board first. Offensive Player of the Year Whitney Frates, who joined Rausch on the all-tournament team, earned the assist.
Fifteen minutes later at 17:22, the Terriers struck back with a goal by junior Macey Gaumond, her tenth of the season. Boston U. junior Nicole van Oosterom worked the ball into the circle on the right side past several defenders before centering a pass to Gaumond who took a point-blank shot into the left side of the cage. Van Oosterom and teammates Kate Murphy and Jacinda McLeod represented Boston U. on the all-tournament team.
The tie was short-lived though as UNH tallied a pair of penalty corner goals in the 23rd and 28th minutes to take a 3-1 lead. Rausch picked up her assist with an insert to Kendall Deck, who stick-stopped it for Megan Bozek's shot into the net. Bozek, a back, initiated the play that led to the penalty corner by driving up field and into the circle. Deck also assisted Kyle Lyons' goal which came under five minutes later on the set piece.
Boston U. retaliated yet again with its second goal of the contest at 28:54. Ysi Schieb rounded out a busy first half with an unassisted rocket into the top of the cage from the top center of the circle. The score remained 3-2 in favor of the Wildcats at the intermission.
In the 53rd minute, New Hampshire added to their lead. After Boston U. rookie Valentina Cerda stopped a penalty corner shot by Bozek, UNH's Casey Pohlmeyer corralled the rebound and passed it off to Rausch who poked in her second of the day. The points gave Rausch her 57th and 58th of the season, breaking the UNH single-season record which had stood since 1986.
After not earning a penalty corner opportunity in the first half of the game, Boston U. tried to capitalize on a flurry of offensive corners in the final ten minutes. UNH goalkeeper Katherine Nagengast made two of her three saves for the game during that span, preserving the hosts' lead and the championship.
Nagengast and Lyons joined Frates and Rausch on the all-championship team.
Cerda saved seven shots to bring her tournament total to 14. The co-Rookie of the Year netminder faced 14 shots during the title game as UNH outshot Boston U. 14-9. The Wildcats also had the 10-5 advantage in penalty corners.
University at Albany's Nina Walters and Brianna Schwoyer and University of Maine's Lelia Sacre and Annabelle Hamilton also received all-tournament team honors for their semifinal round performances.
2011 America East Field Hockey Championship
All games at University
of New Hampshire's Memorial Field, Durham, N.H.
Friday, November 4 -
#1 New Hampshire 1, #4 Albany 0
#2 Boston U. 4, #3 Maine 0
November 6 - Final
#1 New Hampshire 4, #2 Boston U. 2