ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine field hockey team gained valuable momentum against visiting Quinnipiac (Conn.) by erasing its second one-goal deficit on freshman Stephanie Gardiner’s goal with just 1:55 left in the first half.
But the momentum swing lasted just 58 seconds into the second half when the Bobcats’ Christine Grady tapped in Megan Sciascia’s free hit and MacKenzie Liptak added an insurance goal 10:07 later as Quinnipiac triumphed 4-2 in an entertaining game Sunday.
Liptak had opened the scoring 9:12 into the game before Maine freshman Jocelyn Mitchell equalized 4:53 later. Lauren Hartnett regained the lead for the Bobcats at the 24:51 mark before Gardiner tied it.
Seconds into the second half, left back Brandy Longacre made a dazzling sprint down the left flank which resulted in a free hit that Sciascia fired low and hard across the goalmouth to the far post where the un-marked Grady simply had to direct it past helpless Bear goalie Brittany Fleck.
“You can always count on Sciascia for a nice, strong hit across the goal,” said Grady. “I was praying to God it would hit my stick.”
“To give up a goal in the first couple minutes of the second half was back-breaking,” said Maine coach Josette Babineau. “We had the momentum at the half. You can’t start a half like that.”
Liptak’s clinching goal resulted from a turnover as she poked the ball free from an unsuspecting Black Bear, who had just received a pass, and broke in alone on Fleck.
“I had it on my back side [of my stick] and I reversed it, the goalie came out to my left and I put it to the far corner,” said Liptak.
The Bears, who had generated 16 first-half shots, managed just six in the second half.
“We were too frantic in the first half,” said Longacre. “In the second half, we were patient and marked our girls.”
Quinnipiac coach Becca Kohli said the fact Maine played on Saturday, beating Bryant 7-0, and her team didn’t play was a major factor in the second half as Maine got tired.
Liptak’s first goal came when she gathered in her own rebound, stickhandled around Fleck, who had stacked her pads, and slid it home.
Mitchell tied it when she swatted home a Mallory Anderson rebound. Hartnett scored off a rebound before Gardiner directed home a Kelly Newton flip.
Jenna Grossman made 11 saves on 22 shots for the 2-5 Bobcats, while Fleck made 10 saves on 18 shots for 3-4 Maine.