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Hot Seasons
By Allen Lessels '76

Muriel Moore, long an avid follower of UNH men's hockey, has recently added the women's team to her must-see sports list. She is more than eager to discuss her passion for the Wildcats. Just don't expect to get her undivided attention in the middle of a women's game.

"Some people just don't get it," Moore says. "One of the guys I work with...."

A UNH scoring chance turns into a near miss."Oh my God, oh my God," she gasps, then continues: "He says 'I'll see them go in the corner and they'll go, 'ooohh,'" says Moore, with a dainty gesture. "I hear, 'Take it. Take it.' I've got to work on him."

These are good times, very good times, for UNH's women's athletic teams. The field hockey and volleyball teams both made the NCAA tournament last fall. The ice hockey team won the national championship in 1998 and this past season lost the title to Harvard in a 6-5 overtime heartbreaker. Wildcat women's basketball has improved immensely, earning a spot in the postseason National Invitational Tournament for the first time last winter. Gymnastics, as usual, was quite successful.

In volleyball, 6'1" Beth Cole '00, a standout middle hitter, missed last season with a foot injury and is due back next year. More help will come from 6'1" Katie Jentes, a transfer student, and both will add to a talented roster.

Some around campus feel UNH women's basketball, playing a fun and fast style under coach Sue Johnson, has shown signs that it could be the next sport to boom in popularity.

"The future looks bright," says Johnson. "We're not graduating anybody. We're bringing in three talented freshmen."

Orsi Farkas, one of the best players in America East, will be back. Farkas, from Budapest, Hungary, is a 6'2" inside player who likes working around the basket where she tries to take advantage of the quickness and agility not often found in players her height.

"Next year the expectations will be different," Johnson says. "No one expected very much this season. UNH has been a winner in women's basketball for quite a while, but they haven't been a champion or to the NCAAs. We need to get over that hump. My goal is to move into that category."

Attendance for women's events is on the way up, and Judy Ray, UNH athletic director, thinks with success and attention to marketing and scheduling, it could grow even more.

More than 1,600 people came to watch UNH play the University of Maine's women's basketball team in January. And on two days last winter, more than 1,000 fans came to see UNH women's hockey play Providence and Brown.

Muriel Moore, hockey fan, loved it.

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