By Jenna Ciccotelli, news correspondent
The Northeastern University (NU) field hockey team honored the 1995 and 1996 field hockey squads this weekend, celebrating the 20th anniversary of their back-to-back NCAA Final Four appearances before going 1-1 in the weekend’s games against the University of Maine Black Bears and the University of New Hampshire (UNH).
The Huskies fell to the University of Maine in overtime Saturday, Sept. 24. A goal from junior forward Jamie Bartucca combined with a goal from a penalty corner by sophomore forward Laura MacLachlan tied the Huskies 2-2 with UMaine going into the second half.
At halftime, the Huskies introduced members from the 1995 and 1996 teams, who were a part of two straight Final Four runs two decades ago.
“It was a great event,” said head coach Cheryl Murtagh, who is in her 29th season leading the Huskies.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, Bartucca scored a second time to put NU up 3-2 in her first multi-goal outing. The Black Bears quickly answered to even the score.
Late in the second half, senior goalkeeper Becky Garner made the most important save of the season-high nine she racked up that night when she deflected a penalty stroke. Murtagh commended Garner for her performance between the posts.
“It’s really tough for the goalkeeper [to save a penalty stroke]. Her reaction time is outstanding,” Murtagh said. “I don’t think there’s any goalkeeper better than Becky in a short situation. It really fired up the team.”
The save from Garner helped send the game into overtime, but just 42 seconds into the extra period, a shot from Maine’s Sydney Veljacic put the Black Bears ahead to win the game 4-3.
After the game, about 30 alumnae gathered at the Fenway Center, where they had dinner, reminisced and watched VHS footage compiled by Murtagh.
“It was such a fun night,” Murtagh said. “It brought back great memories. It was one of the highlights of my career to see them doing so well professionally and with their families.”
On Sunday, the Huskies used the previous day’s loss to motivate them as they topped UNH to bring their season record back over .500 (5-4).
“The players knew they played well [on Saturday],” Murtagh said. “One of our goals was to play two games in a weekend well through entire games. I was really happy for the team to see them defend so well and play offense so well.”
Sophomore forward June Curry-Lindahl and Bartucca each scored their fifth goals of the season and senior defender Jessica Unger scored her career-best second goal of the season to bring the Huskies over UNH with a score of 3-1.
Curry-Lindahl’s tally came early on in the first half to put NU on the board. She has scored in four of Northeastern’s last five games. Bartucca scored midway through the second half to give the Huskies a solid 2-0 lead.
Freshman midfielder Axelle Dewamme earned her first point of the season with her pass to senior midfielder Natalie Stewart, who assisted Unger on her goal to put the Huskies ahead 3-0. UNH scored late in the game, but the Huskies held on to the 3-1 lead to finish the match out.
The Huskies will head to Philadelphia to face Drexel on Friday, Sept. 30 before they come back home to face Dartmouth on Sunday, Oct. 2.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics