On a cold and windy Friday afternoon, the University of Maine Black Bears and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats faced off in both teams’ conference openers. While the game may have looked close at the beginning, the Black Bears controlled possession all game and capitalized on it in the fourth quarter to win 5-1.
The Black Bears entered the game on a three-game win streak coming off of a 4-2 victory over the Northwestern University Wildcats, bringing their record to 4-3 heading into conference play. UNH entered this game in the complete opposite position to UMaine, losing their last three games, most recently to Lafayette University 1-0.
UMaine struck first in the first quarter when, thanks to a penalty on UNH, third-year back Poppy Lambert scored her fourth goal of the season. She was able to get the ball past fourth-year Wildcats goalie Jemma Woods easily on the back left corner of the goal cage to give the Black Bears a 1-0 lead that stayed the sole score for the rest of the first.
In the second quarter, after Woods was able to save two shots from the Black Bears, she was not able to save the third as fifth-year forward Sydney Meader was able to get the ball in close to the cage thanks to assists from Lambert and fourth-year midfielder Madisyn Hartley for her fifth goal of the season. UMaine continued to be a force defensively and held UNH scoreless at halftime, leading 2-0. At halftime, the Wildcats only were able to get four shots the entire half to the Black Bears’ 11.
In the third quarter, UMaine continued to cruise as fourth-year forward Julia Ross was able to score an unassisted goal, getting the ball straight past Woods to the right to give the Black Bears a 3-0 lead. Afterward, UNH was finally able to respond when first-year Tamera Cookman was able to get the ball in for the first goal of her career to bring the deficit down to two.
While the Wildcats were able to score in the third, it was all Black Bears for the rest of the game. Lambert was able to score her second goal of the day and her fifth of the season thanks to assists from third-year midfielder Tereza Holubcova off of a penalty corner pass to Hartley for the assist. With time running out, Meader scored her second goal thanks to a beautiful high left shot for her sixth goal of the season and was assisted by first-year Kate Richardson, which finished the Wildcats off for good.
Lambert led the offense with five shots on goal, making two of them along with an assist to cap off an impressive day. Meader was similarly impressive, making two goals as well on six shots. UMaine’s defense was stellar all game as they held UNH to just 12 shots on goal all day compared to the Black Bears’ 24. Even when the Wildcats were able to get shots off, fifth-year goalie Mia Borley was nothing short of terrific, making impressive save after impressive save. Woods was strong throughout the first half, but UMaine got the best of her in the second half and capitalized on shot opportunities.
UMaine will travel to the University of Massachusetts, Lowell next on Friday, Sept. 30, and will return home to face the Merrimack College Warriors on Oct. 2 at 2:30 p.m.