Maine Field Hockey Squares-Off with New Hampshire and Northeastern This Weekend
The Black Bears field hockey team continues America East play this weekend as the squad travels to Durham, N.H. to take on school rival, UNH on Friday. The Black Bears will then finish the weekend with an afternoon matinee against Northeastern at the UMaine Field Hockey Complex on Sunday. Game times are 6 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
The Wildcats come into the weekend having won five of the last six contests, with their only loss coming against ranked, Boston College. This weekend's contest against the Black Bears will be the first conference contest of the year for New Hampshire.
Carlie Tarbell has seen all the action for the Wildcats in the cage this season. She is 6-4 with a 2.42 goals against average and a .699 save percentage.
Northeastern enters the weekend with a 4-7 overall record and recently snapped a six game losing streak with a 5-3 win over La Salle. The Huskies hold a decided advantage against Maine in the all-time series history with a 23-5-1 record against the Black Bears.
Emmy Zweserjin paces Northeastern with 15 points (six goals and three assists) while Lindsay Bennett and Natalie Stewart take second and third. Bennett has tallied five goals and three assists for 13 points while Stewart has scored four goals and two assists for 10 points.
Becky Garner has seen a majority of action as starting goalkeeper for the Huskies. She's started all 11 games this season while she maintains a 2.33 goals against average and a .691 save percentage. She's allowed 25 goals this season while making 56 saves.
Freshman forward Danielle Aviani has been one of the quickest players on the field from day one for the Black Bears, but now speed is beginning to translate to points. Aviani now has seven points in her freshman campaign with her best game coming last weekend. The first-year speedster tallied a goal and an assist against Bryant, both coming in dramatic fashion. The Black Bears were down 2-1 with :00 seconds left on the clock with one last penalty corner to try to tie it up. Aviani fed Cassidy Svetek a pass that tie up the game and then in overtime, with her back to the goalkeeper, lifted a shot over her right shoulder to give the Black Bears a 3-2 OT victory.
Redshirt freshman Natasha Ford continues to impress in net for the Black Bears solidifying what looked like a shaky backline earlier in the year. Ford had her three-match scoreless streak snapped by Albany last weekend but still managed to keep the Black Bears within striking distance. She recorded a season high nine saves and helped in the Black Bears win against Bryant with four saves. She was recently honored with this weeks America East Defensive Player of the Week award and has helped the Black Bears win Six of its last eight contests.
While the Black Bears have played a number of ranked opponents and played those foes close, they have had their way with unranked opponents in 2013. The Black Bears have outscored their unranked opposition, 25-6 (six contests). They defeated both Hofstra and Quinnipiac, 5-2 while they rolled Brown, 6-0, downed Central Michigan, 2-0 and handled UMass-Lowell, 4-0. Most recently the Black Bears rallied against Bryant to defeat the Bulldogs, 3-2 in OT. The Black Bears have only been held scoreless once this season, and are averaging 2.98 goals per contest.
SPREADING THE LOVE
The Black Bears have been buoyed offensively by the team's tremendous offensive depth. While Annabelle Hamilton currently leads the team in points with 16 (six goals and four assists), Maine has five players with double-digit point totals while a total of 12 Black Bears have recorded at least one point in this latest campaign. Holly Stewart is second on the list with 15 points while Nicole Sevey is third with 14, Marissa Shaw 12 while Cassidy Svetek rounds out the top five with 11 points. Sydney Veljacic tallied a goal this weekend giving her seven points (two goal, three assists) along with Danielle Aviani's seven points (two goals, three assists).
The University of Maine field hockey team ranks highly in the offensive category when compared to its America East peers. Maine currently ranks in the top-three in every offensive category. Highlighting where the Black Bears feature, is scoring average (third 2.98 gpg), shots (second-place 217/19.73 spg), and goals scored (third place, 33 goals/2.98 gpg). The Black Bears also sit second in assists with 29.
The past shutout streak and strong play on defense and in goal has also helped improve the defensive numbers for the Black Bears. Natasha Ford is tied with Albany's Maxi Primus for first in the conference in shutouts with three. The Black Bears are also second in goals against, averaging 1.89 having only allowed 21. Albany is first in that category having only allowed 11 this season.
After the road-home split this weekend, the Black Bears will play five of its next six contests on the road. The Black Bears will face Dartmouth (Oct. 15), Fairfield (Oct. 19), Yale (Oct. 20), California, hosted by Boston University (Oct. 27) and Providence on (Oct. 28). The final home game for the Black Bears will be on Nov. 2 against conference foe, Vermont.