|Endicott College||University of New England|
BIDDEFORD, Maine — Two goals in a span of 38 seconds early in the 2nd period opened up a tied field hockey contest and sent the University of New England on its way to a 4-1 Commonwealth Coast Conference victory over Endicott College on Tuesday evening at the Big Blue Turf.
It was a fourth straight win for the Nor’easters (6-1, 2-0 CCC), who remained just outside of the National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) Top 20 Poll (that was released earlier in the day.
UNE has now taken six in-a-row from the Gulls (3-3, 2-1 CCC) to move atop at the all-time series at 12-11. Before today, however, each of the last five meetings had been decided by one goal, including three in overtime — two of which for the conference title.
With just over 10 minutes gone in the closing frame, Marge Gardiner took a corner-insert from Kersey Boulay and flipped a shot over the goalie’s out-stretched leg into the left side to give the hosts a 2-1 edge. Moments later, Vonde Saunders dribbled through traffic and around the goalie to roll one in for a two-goal cushion.
Hannah Buckley padded the UNE lead in the 58th minute, and the defense stayed strong the rest of the way. For the match, the Nor’easters limited Endicott to seven shots, and just three on-target, in spite of surrendering more (10-9) penalty corners.
Big Blue never trailed in game, once Saunders found Nicole Matarozzofor a 1-0 advantage in the 10th minute. The Gulls leveled things up in the 28th minute, when Emily Hirtle carried possession down towards the right end line and delivered a cross through the crease to where Nicki Thurston tapped it in by the left post.
Holly Smith made two saves for UNE to backstop the decision between the pipes; her counterpart for Endicott, Cheka Ventura , recorded seven saves while facing 18 total shots.