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Black Bears riding high after winning three consecutive games

With the speed and determination shown throughout the semester, the University of Maine’s field hockey team (12-2) won twin victories against Dartmouth College (4-7) and University of Vermont (5-8), with a final score of 4-0 for both games, before going on to defeat the University of Massachusetts Lowell (7-6) by a score of 4-1.

The first game was held on Moulton Winder Field in Burlington, Vermont on Oct. 7. UMaine opened as aggressively as ever, out shooting the UVM Catamounts, making the game quite lopsided compared to the Catamounts, who made only two shots in the first half and three in the second. Unable to put forward a formidable offense, Vermont mounted a strong defense saving four of UMaine’s seven shots in the first half.

The first goal was scored 25 minutes into the game by second year back Hana Davis with an assist by first year back Nina Keur. Just under five minutes into the second period, Brianna Ricker scored the second goal. After battling for dominance, the other two goals followed in quick succession toward the end of the second half. The next goal was scored off a penalty corner by fourth year back Samantha Wagg and the final shot was scored by third year midfielder Riley Field with an assist by fourth year midfielder Casey Crowley.

From there, the Black Bears turned their sticks toward the home match against Dartmouth. They played on Oct. 9 at UMaine. From the comfort of their home den, the Black Bears fired shot after shot at their opponents who returned fire only once in the first period and twice in the second. But the Dartmouth defenders did their work, saving six out of 14 shots in the first period and 14 out of 20 in the second.

Keur scored the first and last goals of the game, putting her at the mark of seven goals on the season. Crowley, not to allow Keur to shoulder the whole offensive load, scored the first goal of the second period, bringing to score to 2-0. This was followed by a penalty corner and a foul. Near the halfway point of the second period, fourth year back Emily Hindle scored the third goal of the game, bringing her record to six goals for season so far. After several other shots by second year forward Brooke Sulinski and fourth year midfielder Libby Riedl that were saved by Dartmouth goalie Haley Valerio, Keur shot the final goal, leaving Dartmouth in death throes for the final five minutes of the game.

Cruising through their previous two games on strong offensive chemistry, the Black Bears played host to the UMass Lowell River Hawks on Oct. 11, and Crowley finished the contest with a hat trick. Crowley, with the assistance of great passing from her teammates, scored three goals for the Black Bears in the 4-1 victory over the River Hawks. Crowley came out firing to start the game, scoring her first goal less than two minutes into the game. Roughly 15 minutes into the game, Crowley drove down the field once more, sending the ball flying into the back of the net off an assist from Sulinski. Less than 10 minutes later, Ricker drove down the field and scored off of an assist from Wagg, putting the Black Bears up 3-0 with more than half of the game left to play. The River Hawks, not to be sent home scoreless like previous UMaine opponents, pushed hard offensively in the second half after not having a single shot on goal in the first half. Eventually, the River Hawks’ Torrie Huk managed to score, however the effort was all for naught, as less than a minute later Crowley showed the reason that the Black Bears have been nationally ranked 17th best in the country. With the advantage in shots on goal, 23-4, over the River Hawks, the Black Bears were constantly on the River Hawks’ side of the field, proving to be the deciding factor for the game.

On Sunday, Oct. 14, the Black Bears played host to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, winning the tilt by a final score of 4-0. The Black Bears, now used to winning contests by this score, were led by a two score performance from Keur, while Field and Ricker each had a goal of their own.

After winning their past four games, the Black Bears are sitting at a 13-2 record, including a 4-1 record within their conference. The next tilt for UMaine comes on Oct. 19 at the University of Albany, the first of their last three regular season contests before kicking off the America East Tournament on Oct. 30.

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