The Black Bears took to the field on Sunday, Oct. 6 against the University of Hartford Hawks. The contest against Hartford opened up quickly for Maine as second-year forward Saylor Clark found the back of the net less than 10 minutes into the first half thanks to a masterful assist from fourth-year forward Nicole Bailey. After that, both teams exchanged unsuccessful bids on offense until the 35-minute mark in the first half, with second-year Hawk midfielder Izzy Lachcik managing to get the ball past second-year goaltender Kira Kutzinski. After this goal, neither team was able to score in the last ten minutes of the first half, leaving the game tied heading into the intermission.
This second half saw far less action as neither team was able to get anything on the net. Both teams locked down on defense, leaving us an uneventful start to the first few minutes. After thirteen minutes, Hartford got a look on the net and capitalized, moving the score to 2-1. With Hartford up, they locked-down their defense and focused on keeping Maine out of their zone. Only one shot was fired toward the Hawks’ net during the last 35-minutes of the game by Maine, and the contest ended with a final score of 2-1.
The Black Bears had a week to practice after this game, giving them time to recover. The team went back on their own pitch to play the Binghamton University Bearcats on Sunday, Oct. 13, at noon. This game resulted in a 3-1 win for Maine, which was the first win against a team within their division so far. This game promised to be quite interesting, with the two teams being close in the divisional rankings for the American East.
Storming out of the gate early, the Bearcats were aggressive in the Black Bears’ defensive zone, and quite shortly the pressure caused Maine’s defense to break. Third-year midfielder Sarah Dibble broke through the Black Bears’ defense, sizing up Kutzinski and sending the ball flying right past her for the early Binghamton 1-0 lead. Though Binghamton led on the scoreboard less than 10 minutes in, the Black Bears refused to lose heart, competing hard throughout the remainder of the first half. That effort paid off, with first-year midfielder Olivia Chalifoux scoring on an assist from second-year midfielder Birte Speck, leveling the score heading into the locker room at the half.
Maine stormed out of the gate in the second half, including locking down Binghamton’s offense, allowing only six shots on their goal in the final 45 minutes of play. The game fell to defensive play and several penalties on both sides for the remainder of the period, but with 15 minutes left Maine’s offense kicked it into gear once more. Fourth-year forward Beate Naglestad scored on an assist from fourth-year midfielder Emilie Andersen, giving Maine the advantage. Icing away the game further, with under 10 minutes left to play, second-year midfielder Julia Mahoney and fourth-year midfielder Priscilla Domingo teamed up to score on Binghamton once more, with Domingo scoring and Mahoney in on the assist.
The last game was played against the Black Bears’ rival, the University of New Hampshire Wildcats in Durham, New Hampshire. In similar fashion to their previous contest, Maine’s defense gave up yet another early score, this one to fourth-year forward Ally Reynolds just eight minutes into the contest. After this shot, the game devolved into a stalemate, with neither team able to find the back of the net, leaving the score at 1-0 going into the second half. It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes of play that New Hampshire scored again, as Reynolds had a day against the Black Bears to carry her Wildcats to victory. Impressive play on the back end, second-year goaltender Cat Sheppard stopped three shots on goal and 11 shots total. This was a tough 2-0 loss for the Black Bears, as they now move to 1-4-1 against teams in the America East conference.
The next game for UMaine will be on Sunday, Oct. 27, against the University of Albany in New York, with a kickoff time of 1:00 p.m.