.  – Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) recorded two goals and an assist, but the University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team couldn’t overcome a six-goal halftime deficit in Wednesday afternoon’s 9-6 non-conference loss to Hofstra University at Memorial Field.

UNH, which entered the game with a three-game winning streak, is now 4-4. Hofstra ended its two-game losing streak to improve to 3-4.

Trailing 8-2 at halftime, the Wildcats closed within 8-4 on goals by Kaplan and Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.). Kaplan scored on a free-position shot from the left wing at 21:39, then Hardy cut across the fan to the right side and fired a shot back to the left post to trim the deficit to four goals at 16:33.

Hofstra called time out at that point, but Kaplan struck again at 15:29 when she forced a turnover along the right sideline in the Pride’s defensive zone, charged towards the net and shot the ball into the upper-right corner of the goal.

UNH gained possession off the ensuing draw control, but a turnover led to Ashley Jones’ unassisted tally and a 9-5 Hofstra advantage at 14:19. The visitors won the subsequent draw control, but their turnover gave the ‘Cats a chance to pull closer. New Hampshire capitalized on that opportunity when Sarah Von Bargen (E. Setauket, N.Y.; two goals) converted a pass from Kaplan into her 15th goal of the season at 13:16.

Hofstra, which recorded a 12-5 advantage in draw controls, once again earned possession off the draw. A Pride turnover led to a free-position shot by UNH’s Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) at 8:30, but HU goalkeeper Maisie Osteen stopped the low shot to preserve the 9-6 lead.

At the other end of the field, UNH goalie Natalie Jones (Penn Yan, N.Y.) denied Jen Bach’s low shot with 6:00 remaining. The Wildcats advanced the ball downfield but were turned away when Von Bargen’s shot hit the pipe at 5:20.

Hofstra gave the ball back to the ‘Cats deep in their defensive zone, then Becky Thorn intercepted a pass in front of the UNH net but shot wide left of the open net. A flurry of turnovers resulted in Hofstra possessing the ball with 2:30 on the clock, and the Pride utilized perimeter passing to effectively avoid defensive double teams and secure the victory.

UNH’s Jones recorded seven of her eight saves in the first half, whereas Osteen made six of her 10 saves in the second half.

Hofstra quickly took a 1-0 lead on Casey McGrath’s tally 30 seconds into the game and she struck again at 24:57 – on what appeared to be a pass from the top of the fan – to give the Pride a 2-0 advantage.

Von Bargen netted a free-position goal at 21:14 on a shot from the left wing into the upper-right corner to lift UNH within 2-1, but the Pride went on a 5-0 run in the next 10 minutes to build a 7-1 lead.

Lauren Whitcomb began the spurt when she converted a pass from Becky Thorn at 17:57 and Thorn, off a feed from McGrath, scored 32 seconds later on a shot into the upper-left corner.

New Hampshire called a timeout, but the visitors continued to extend its lead when Alicia Recco netted an unassisted tally at 16:19. Thorn struck again at 14:05 on a shot deep on the right wing to give HU a 6-1 advantage and Whicomb scored off her own rebound in front of the net at 11:13 to extend the lead to six goals, 7-1.

Durepo ended UNH’s scoreless stretch (of 17:22) when she drove down the middle of the fan to score at 3:52. Hofstra’s Corrine Gandolfi netted a goal at 1:02 to close the first-half scoring and give HU an 8-2 advantage.

Jones limited the Pride to one second-half goal and held them scoreless for the final 14:19 of the game, but Osteen did not allow a goal in the last 13:16 to preserve the lead.

This was the first meeting between these teams since Hofstra defeated UNH in the 2001 America East semifinals. The Pride now holds a 7-6 edge in the series.

New Hampshire returns to action March 31 at home against America East rival University of Vermont. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.
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