DURHAM, N.H. -- Kristin Blanchette (Sudbury, Mass.) netted her third goal of the game to break a 9-9 tie with 12:14 remaining in regulation and it proved to be the game-winning tally as the 18th-ranked University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team defeated Boston University, 11-9, in Saturday afternoon's title game of the America East Championships. By winning the conference championship, UNH earns automatic qualifier status into the NCAA tournament.
UNH, which entered the America East tournament as the No. 1 seed with a 6-0 league record, extended its school-record winning streak to 14 - including nine straight at home - as well as its single-season win total by improving to 15-4. The Wildcats will be making their sixth NCAA tournament appearance and the first since 1991. New Hampshire won the women's lacrosse national championship in 1985, which is the school's only NCAA title.
Boston University, which had defeated UNH to win the 2002 and 2003 America East titles, ends the season at 9-10.
With the score tied at 9, Blanchette scored on a free position shot - all three of her goals were on free positions - to give New Hampshire a 10-9 lead at 47:46. Burnap, the America East Player of the Year, netted her 69th goal of the season at 50:25 to extend UNH's lead to 11-9.
Following a pair of turnovers, UNH goalie Stacey Plati (Nahsua, N.H.) made one of her career-high 14 saves on a Kelly Trahon free position shot to preserve the Wildcats' two-goal lead. The 'Cats went into a spread offense, but two more turnovers forced Plati to make two more saves.
New Hampshire gained possession with just over three minutes remaining but BU forced a turnover with 1:07 to play. Plati stopped shots by Alyssa Trudel and Kaitlyn Cuneo in the final minute, then Burnap picked up a ground ball with 20 seconds remaining to secure the win.
BU goalkeeper Anne Sheridan finished with six saves.
UNH quickly took a 1-0 lead when Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.), who was named the America East Championships' Most Outstanding Performer, scored 42 seconds into the game. Burnap struck at 3:41 and 7:45 to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. BU stormed back to score four of the next five goals and tie the game, 4-4, at 17:09.
Blanchette's tally at 19:39 was answered by Trahon (four goals) at 27:08, but Kelly Blaney (Stony Brook, N.Y.), with the assistance of Leland, scored with 25 seconds remaining in the first half to give New Hampshire a 6-5 halftime lead.
The Terriers took their first lead of the game, 7-6, on goals by Lindsay Lewis and Cuneo in the opening two minutes of the second half. UNH responded with tallies by Blanchette and Blaney at 43:47 and 34:49, respectively, to regain the lead at 8-7.
Trudel forged the fifth tie of the game at 35:52 before Sarah Cahill (Lexington, Mass.) put the Wildcats in front once again with an unassisted tally at 41:51. Trahon tied the score, 9-9, at 43:23 but BU was shut out during the final 6:37 behind Plati's strong play in goal.
Leland was joined on the All-Championship team by Blaney, Plati and Laura Dosdall (Wellesley, Mass.). Dosdall netted UNH's fourth goal of the game, and was also credited with five ground balls and three caused turnovers.
The NCAA tournament field will be announced May 9 at approximately 6:30 p.m. on CSTV (DirecTV Channel 610). The bracket can also be found on the internet at ncaasports.com.