The University of Maine field hockey team fell short in the first round of the America East tournament on Friday. The loss came in the semifinal round against Northeastern. The tournament appearance for the Black Bears marked their fourth straight trip to the tournament and their fourth straight loss to Northeastern once they got there.
Northeastern is currently the three-time defending conference champion, having beaten UMaine in the championship game the past two years.
UMaine took an early 1-0 lead when senior Rachel Hilgar scored unassisted at the 31-minute mark. It was her team leading ninth goal of the season. Maine was out shot in the first half 16-10 but still went into halftime with the lead.
In the second half the Huskies scored twice, both times off penalty corners. The first one came off the stick of Lauren Edelmeier at 40:24. The game was tied at 1-1 until just under nine minutes to play, when Edelmeier scored again off a corner at 61:39. Natalie Singelais and Whitney Shean both assisted on the corners. Shean scored both goals in Northeastern’s 2-1 win over the Black Bears earlier in the season. While she played a part in the two goals on Friday, it was Edelmeier who got the job done for the Huskies. Edelmeier was also named America East Defensive Player of the Year earlier in the week. UMaine could not tie the game and Northeastern walked away with the narrow 2-1 victory.
“We felt like we played a tremendous game, but unfortunately Northeastern made two great shots.” said UMaine head coach Terry Kix, on goblackbears.com. “We need to give them credit for making big plays. We played our best game of the season, and I am very proud of the team effort today.”
Northeastern out shot UMaine on the game 27-11 and allowed them just one shot in the second half. Northeastern held the advantage on penalty corners, which proved to be the difference, 15-11. Jamie Morin made 11 saves for the Black Bears, and Diana Nelson made six for the Huskies and for the win.
UMaine fell to 12-7 on their season and will miss the conference championship game for the first time since 2001. Northeastern improved to 16-3 on the season and advanced to the championship game against Boston University, the team who hosted the tournament. The Terriers advanced to the Championship game after shutting out New Hampshire 3-0.
UMaine seniors Rachel Hilgar and Liz Mendell were named to the America East Field Hockey All-Conference first team before the game. Junior Meagan Connolly and senior goalkeeper Jamie Morin both were named to the America East All-Conference second team. Hilgar led the team in scoring for the second straight year and had 25 points. She started every game. Mendell, a captain, led a defense that allowed just 1.19 goals per game, and she also started every game for the Black Bears. Jamie Morin is No. 11 in the country in goals-against-average with 1.29 per game. She is number 15 in goals-against-average. She recorded four shutouts on the season.