Pilgrims allow four second half goals, fall to UNE
Leading 1-0 at the half, the University of New England found the back of the cage four times after intermission for a decisive 5-1 victory over New England College in The Commonwealth Coast Conference field hockey action Sunday afternoon.
The win was the eighth straight for the Nor'easters (12-2), who wrapped up the TCCC regular season with a record of 7-1. It was also the first time in eight meetings that UNE had defeated the Pilgrims. With the loss, NEC falls to 11-6 overall (5-3 TCCC).
Sophomore Brianna Tupper (Winthrop, Maine) got the hosts going 2:20 into the contest, tipping home a blast from junior Michaela Franey (York, Maine).
After limited scoring opportunities for either team for the remainder of the first period, play opened up in the final stanza. The Nor'easters finished the second half with a 17-7 cushion in shots, despite giving up 10 penalty corners to the Pilgrims in the frame.
Junior Cassandra Bushey (North Hartland, Vt.) doubled the UNE lead at the 43:12 mark, placing a penalty stroke into the lower right corner of the net for her third goal of the season.
NEC responded 1:18 later when first-year Emily Kuchta (Norwalk, Conn.) found junior Samantha Escobar (Rumney, N.H.) to pull the visitors back within one (2-1), but that was as close as the Pilgrims would get.
Senior Taryn Flagg (Livermore Falls, Maine), classmate Anne Cowles (Franconia, N.H.), and Tupper each scored goals during the final 16 minutes to put the game away.
Flagg assisted on the goal by Cowles to raise her season point total to 39, tying her own single season record set a year ago.
Junior Ayla Nelson (Auburn, Mass.) made eight stops in goal for the Nor'easters, who complete their regular season Tuesday with a non-conference match against Bridgewater State College (7 p.m.).
NEC, which travels to Keene State College the same day for a non-conference match, received a dozen saves from junior Mary Roux (Auburn, Mass.).
Both teams are headed to the upcoming TCCC Tournament. UNE is tied atop the league standings with Nichols College and Endicott College, and awaits official word on its seeding which is set to be released Monday. The Pilgrims will enter the tournament as the No. 4 seed, hosting a quarterfinal game next Saturday.
(Courtesy of UNE Sports Information)