UNH women's lax edged by No. 9 Boston U, 12-10, in AE title game

Leland breaks Wildcats' career goals record

Katie Leland

BALTIMORE, Md. - Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.) became the University of New Hampshire's career goals leader in a four-point performance, but the ninth-ranked Boston University women's lacrosse team won the America East Championship tournament with a 12-10 victory Sunday afternoon at UMBC Stadium Complex.

UNH, the fourth seed in its conference-record ninth consecutive America East tourney and a fifth straight appearance in the title game, ends the season at 11-7. Second-seeded BU improved to 15-4.

Leland netted two goals and two assists and both Kristin Blanchette (Sudbury, Mass.) and Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) scored three goals to lead the Wildcats' attack. UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.) finished with 10 saves, including a few in the closing minutes to keep the 'Cats close, while BU counterpart Jenna Golden stopped six shots.

UNH's Leland, Blanchette and Ashley Crook (South Burlington, Vt.) were named to the All-Championship Team.

BU struck first on Lindsay Lewis' free-position goal at 1:33. The Wildcats evened the score, 1-1, at 4:12 on a transition goal from Bailley Mazur (Longmeadow, Mass.) to Alexa Webster (Aurora, Colo.), whose pass from the top-right of the corner went down low to Talbot and she scored from close range. The Terriers regained the lead 55 seconds later on Lewis' second tally but the 'Cats, sparked by Leland, scored three consecutive goals to build a 4-2 advantage.

Crook, off Leland's pass from behind the net, pulled New Hampshire even, 2-2, at 6:56. On the ensuing draw control, Leland collected an outlet pass from Blanchette and drove unmarked through the fan to give UNH its first lead of the game, 3-2, at 7:10. Leland then set up the next tally as her pass from the top of the fan hit Talbot at the left post and she scored at 8:09 to give the Wildcats a 4-2 advantage.

BU called time out at that point and Angie Martin weaved through the defense from the top of the fan to pull the Terriers within 4-3 at 8:55. The Wildcats responded with a 4-0 spurt, however, to build an 8-3 lead.

Blanchette ignited the run with a free-position goal at 10:42, then began a transition attack with a pass to Ashley Blake (Amherst, N.H.) at the top of the fan. Blake, in turn, passed the ball down low to Talbot, who scored at the right post at 12:15 for a 6-3 lead. Blanchette then netted consecutive free-position goals - the first at 16:27 from the top of the fan and the next from the left side at 20:05 - to increase her season goal total to 38 and give UNH its largest lead of the game, 8-3.

BU quickly trimmed the deficit to four goals on Jenny Hauser's tally at 21:27 and closed the first-half scoring when Hauser set up Sarah Dalton at 27:52.

Leland broke another UNH record when she became the program's career goals leader with her 179th - Jessie Groszkowski held the previous mark of 178 - on her second tally of the game and 53rd of the season at 31:13 for a 9-5 lead.

Lewis' third goal of the game pulled the Terriers within 9-6 at 32:52, then Lauren Morton and Dalton scored 32 seconds apart to trim the difference to 9-8 and prompt a UNH timeout at 38:24.

BU won the ensuing draw, however, and leveled the score at 9 on Mary Beth Miller's goal at 38:40.

New Hampshire regained the lead, 10-9, at 42:51 when Webster collected a pass at the top of the fan and drove past the defense to score.

Hauser forced the fourth tie of the game, 10-10, with an unassisted tally at 49:11 and struck again 56 seconds later to give BU its third lead of the game.

Milley denied Dalton on a point-blank shot with eight minutes remaining to keep UNH's deficit at one goal, but then Lewis scored on a restart from just outside the fan at 55:12 for a 12-10 score in favor of BU.

The Wildcats called their second timeout, after which Boston University gained possession off the draw control. Milley made another strong save to deny Lewis with 4:10 to play, but the 'Cats immediately turned the ball over. The Terriers held the ball for nearly a minute before Martin fired a shot that caromed off the pipe. BU regained possession and held control with perimeter passing the rest of the way.

The end of the UNH season also marks the end of Wildcat careers for Blanchette, Leland and Maghan Grahn (Roseau, Minn.). Blanchette leaves the program with career numbers of 112 goals and 39 assists for 151 points to rank ninth in points and tied for eighth in goals. Leland ended the 2006 season with 53 goals and 29 assists for 82 points; on UNH's list of single-season superlatives, those numbers rank seventh in goals, fourth in assists and second in points. For her career, Leland is UNH's all-time leader in both goals (179) and points (271) as well as second in assists (91).

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