BOSTON - The second-seeded University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team made a strong second-half surge, but top-seeded and 20th-ranked Boston University fended off the Wildcats to win the America East championship game, 11-6, Saturday afternoon at Nickerson Field.
UNH, which also lost to BU in last year's conference title game, ends the 2003 season with a 5-12 overall record that included a 4-1 record in America East. BU won its school-record 12th consecutive game to improve to 14-4 overall and advance to the NCAA tournament.
Trailing 9-1 late in the first half, the Wildcats scored four consecutive goals to trim the deficit to 9-5. The comeback began when Ashley Kammerer (Westport, Conn.) was awarded a free position, and on the restart set up a goal by Kelly Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.) at 27:52. New Hampshire continued its surge in the second half on an unassisted tally by Laura Dosdall (Wellesley, Mass.) at 36:30 and free position goals by Jessie Groszkowski (Reisterstown, Md.) and Jess Burnap (New Canaan, Conn.) at 37:17 and 41:44, respectively.
Burnap's goal prompted a Boston University timeout and the Terriers responded immediately with Alyssa Trudel's third goal of the game at 42:59. UNH was turned away on its next three possessions and BU extended its advantage to 11-5 at 50:52.
Groszkowski, UNH's all-time leading goal scorer (178) and second-leading point scorer (204), lifted the Wildcats within 11-6 on her second free position goal of the game with 4:01 remaining. UNH continued to pressure, but BU goalie Anne Sheridan made a save against Blaney with three minutes to play and made another key stop against Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.) one minute later to quell any New Hampshire hopes of a late rally.
The Terriers held possession for the final two minutes to secure the victory.
Sheridan, named the tourney's Most Outstanding Player, made eight saves. UNH goalkeeper Danielle Martin (Ellicott City, Md.) was credited with 10 saves.
Boston University built a 4-0 lead 8:37 into the game before Burnap put the Wildcats in the scoring column at 9:53. BU netted five consecutive goals over the next 15 minutes to extend its advantage to 9-1.
Burnap, Dosdall and Groszkowski were named to the America East All-Championship Team. Groszkowski led the 'Cats with seven points, all on goals, in the tourney. Burnap finished with five goals and one assist while Dosdall had four points on three goals and an assist.
This was the final game for New Hampshire seniors Martin and Groszkowski, as well as defender Jen Smith (Marshfield, Mass.), who recorded two ground balls and one caused turnover in the championship game.