A warm sunny fall day descended upon the University of Maine field hockey complex as they got ready to begin conference play hosting the Aggies of the University of California, Davis. Maine started the season picking up out-of-conference wins against Providence College and Ohio University. While they have suffered four losses, three of them to Top 20 teams in the country, they have remained highly competitive in all of their games and have not allowed more than three goals in any contest this year. Over the last two years, Maine has an in-conference record of 15-1, and is hoping to carry over their success from past seasons.
The game starts out very quickly for the Aggies. Within the first 90 seconds, third-year forward Audrey Lee had a golden chance in front of the net but ultimately hit the post. Shortly after, the momentum began to swing into the favor of the Black Bears. Halfway through the first quarter, the Black Bears had an opportunity to get on the board with consecutive penalty corner chances but couldn’t cash in.
Maine continued to tip the field in their favor with numerous opportunities in front of the Aggies net. Third-year goalkeeper for the Aggies Sarah Lopez made two incredible saves towards the end of the first half shutting down second-year Julia Berk on the Black Bears best chance of the day. Black Bear goalkeeper, fifth-year player Mallory Drayer had a quiet first half with little action, largely due to the play of fifth-year back Hannah Abbott, who eliminated any partial scoring chance for the Aggies in the first half. The two teams went into halftime scoreless, with the contest’s first goal still looking to be found.
The third quarter started out with much of the same from the Black Bears. Much of the field tilted in their end but still unable to find the back of the net. Two minutes into the quarter fifth-year midfielder Madisyn Hartley fed second-year forward Mallory Mackey with a beautiful lead pass but was once again denied by Lopez. With the Black Bears controlling the entirety of the game up to this point, frustration began to kick in as the game’s first goal was yet to be scored.
The fourth quarter kicked off with yet another penalty corner opportunity for the Black Bears. Yet again, they were unable to score and the Aggies then saw their best chances of the game. Drayer did an excellent job shutting down an Aggies breakaway and their first penalty corner of the day. Fourth-year midfielder Tereza Holubcova made an incredible individual play going coast to coast, setting up teammate second-year forward Mallory Mackesy to bury the game’s first goal. A collective sigh of relief came across the Black Bears and their faithful fans. Mackesy was yet to be done as three minutes later, she scored her second goal of the game with just over three minutes remaining, essentially putting the game away.
The story of the day came from the defenders of the Black Bears. Nearly every chance the Aggies had was turned away immediately, showing excellent communication across the board primarily by Abbott.
The Black Bears move to 1-0 in the America East Conference, and will look to build on this win heading into their next game Frday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. when they face the University of Massachusetts, Lowell Falcons.