DURHAM, N.H. - Senior assistant captain Colleen Christopher (Newington, N.H.) celebrated 'Senior Day' with five goals, including her 50th of the season, and assisted on another to lead the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Wednesday afternoon's 15-12 victory against Harvard University at Memorial Field.
UNH improved to 11-5. The victory total is the most by a Wildcat team since the 1991 squad advanced to the NCAA semifinals and finished 11-2. Christopher became the first Wildcat since the 1979 season to reach the 50 goal plateau. She now has 53 this season and trails only record-holder Kathy Sanborn (59).
Trailing 11-6 with 25 minutes remaining in the game, Harvard (6-7) scored four consecutive goals - by Katie Shaughnessy (three goals, assist), Lizzy Frisbie, Erin Kutner and Frisbie- to pull within one goal, 11-10, at 17:40.
Jessie Groszkowski (Reisterstown, Md.; three goals, assist) scored less than a minute later to give UNH a two-goal advantage but the Crimson climbed back within one goal at 14:28 on a Lauren Corkery tally. Meg Mangano (Saratoga Springs, N.Y.; three goals), the other senior assistant captain, made it 13-11 at 11:41.
New Hampshire exhibited patience in a spread offense and Christopher potted her fifth goal of the game for a 14-11 lead at 8:12. UNH continued its spread attack the rest of the way and effectively prevented Harvard from gaining possession. Mangano scored with 23 seconds left, then Katie O'Brien struck with four seconds on the clock to cap the scoring.
UNH senior goalkeeper Amanda Warren (Amherst, N.H.) played the initial 36:22 of the game. She recorded seven saves and exited with the 'Cats holding an 11-7 advantage. Danielle Martin (Ellicott City, Md.) played the final 23:38 of the game and stopped four shots while allowing five goals. Harvard goalkeeper Nora Guyer was credited with five saves.
The Wildcats held a 4-1 lead midway through the first half on two goals by Christopher and others by Mangano and Groszkowski; Shaughnessy potted the visitor's tally. Goals by Shaughnessy and Alli Harper (two goals) pulled Harvard within 4-3 over the next five minutes.
Christopher ignited a three-goal spurt at 8:40 that was followed by tallies from Christine Anneberg (Denver, Colo.; two goals, assist) and Meagan Clavin (Hanover, N.H.; two goals). Harvard's Heather Gotha netted a free position goal to trim the deficit to 7-4 at 1:09, but Christopher struck 14 seconds later for an 8-4 halftime score.
With UNH leading 9-5 early in the second half, the teams combined to score three goals in 22 seconds. Harvard closed within 9-6 on Harper's tally at 25:47. Groszkowski then won the ensuing draw control and passed to Clavin, who scored at 25:36. Groszkowski again won the draw control and this time finished herself to give the 'Cats an 11-6 lead at 25:25.
It was the final home game for six Wildcat seniors - Dawn Antosz (Sagamore Beach, Mass.), Christopher, Mangano, captain Maggie McKee (Middlebury, Vt.), Julie Stein (Baltimore, Md.) and Warren.
New Hampshire concludes the regular season April 27 (3:30 p.m.) at Hofstra University. The Wildcats have clinched a berth in the America East Championships, which will be played May 5-6 at the site of the highest seed.