#15 WOMEN'S LAX FENDED OFF BY #11 BOSTON U., 7-6

SARAH VON BARGEN
BOXSCORE


BOSTON
Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) both recorded three goals for the 15th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team, but 11th-ranked Boston University fended off the Wildcats’ late rally for a 7-6 America East victory Saturday afternoon at Nickerson Field.

UNH, which would have climbed into a first-place tie with BU by defeating the Terriers, is now 10-4 overall and 3-2 in the league. BU won its ninth consecutive game, including seventh straight in the series vs. New Hampshire, to improve to 12-2, 5-0.

New Hampshire entered the week ranked No. 5 in the nation in defense and became the first team to hold Boston University, which was No. 5 in offense, to a single-digit goal total.

With UNH trailing 7-4 at 18:00 of the second half, Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) drew a charge on the defensive end to gain possession for the ‘Cats  Hardy then raced the ball the length of the field and cut from deep on the right wing to the front of the net before firing a low shot inside the left post. Hardy’s third goal of the game and team-leading 38th of the season trimmed the deficit to 7-5 at 17:11.

UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.), who finished with five saves, made stops against BU’s Traci Landi (at 15:40) and Stephanie Walker (10:05; on a free position shot) to keep the differential at two goals.

The Wildcats called their second timeout of the half at 9:31, but then lost possession on an unforced turnover. BU exhibited a patient attack, then McKinley Curro fired a shot wide of the right post that Milley gathered to give possession back to the ‘Cats.

After New Hampshire methodically moved the ball to the offensive zone, Von Bargen scooped up a loose ball in the middle of the fan, drove through traffic and hit the top-left side of the net to pull UNH within 7-6 at 6:06.

BU went into a perimeter offense in which the Terriers were able to maintain possession despite a pair of Wildcat stick checks that forced loose balls within a 30-second span (from 4:20 to 3:40).

A stick check by Ashley Crook (South Burlington, Vt.) once again cause the ball to hit the turf, and this time teammate Bailley Mazur (Longmeadow, Mass.) corralled the ball to give the Wildcats possession at 2:30.

Hardy’s low shot from the center of the fan with 1:15 remaining bounced into the torso of BU goalie Rachel Klein and she controlled the rebound to keep her team in front.

BU advanced the ball to the offensive end and once again went into a spread offense, but the Terriers were whistled for an offsides infraction to give possession back to New Hampshire with 28 seconds to play.

Von Bargen was fouled cutting through the fan with 16 seconds on the clock, and her ensuing shot as she charged from the top-left side caromed off the turf and Klein’s left foot to go wide right of the goal. The Wildcats kept the ball in play behind the net, but were called for a charge while attempting to roll out to the left post with five seconds remaining.

Klein finished with five saves and BU’s offense was led by Curro (2g, 1a) and Erica Baumgartner (1g, 2a).

The teams played to a 3-3 tie in the first half. BU struck quickly when Molly Collins, from the top right of the fan, found Landi down low and she converted the pass into a goal at 29:21.

UNH produced its first dangerous scoring opportunity at seven minutes into the game when Hardy’s pass from the left wing connected with a cutting Von Bargen, but she was stopped from close range by Klein.

At the other end of the field, Milley denied Lauren Morton, but the Terriers retained possession and Curro scored on a shot from the left wing at 21:06 to extend the advantage to 2-0.

BU won the ensuing draw control, but Milley kept the deficit at two goals with a save against Collins.

 The Wildcats, who demonstrated patience on the attack throughout the game, pulled within 2-1 at 17:21 when Hardy, from the top of the fan, beat the defense with a step to the left and drove down the middle before shooting low into the left side.

Von Bargen leveled the score, 2-2, at 13:55 on a free position shot. From the left wing, she cut to the cop of the circle and fired a low shot past Klein.

Boston University regained the lead, 3-2, when Sarah Dalton executed a catch-and-shoot in front of the net off Baumgartner’s high pass from behind the net at 12:40.

Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) combined with Von Bargen to lift the Wildcats into a 3-3 tie at 8:22. Kaplan, on the right wing, found Von Bargen circling from behind the net and she scored at the right post.

Kaplan was denied on a free position by Klein with 1:49 to play in the first half, but the ‘Cats retained possession and held the ball for the last shot of the half. UNH lost the ball in the closing seconds, however, to send the teams into halftime tied at 3.

 

The Wildcats took their only lead of the game, 4-3, when Hardy scored from the left doorstep at 27:53 of the second half. BU scored four goals in a span of 4:13 to build the 7-4 advantage. Baumgartner began the run at 23:30 and she set up Curro's goal at 22:14 that gave BU a 5-4 lead. Lauren Morton scored at 20:14 and Collins struck 61 seconds later to close the four-goal spurt.

Milley and the rest of the Wildcats' defensive efforts kept the high-scoring Terriers' attack scoreless for the final 19:13 but the 'Cats could not overcome the three-goal deficit.

New Hampshire concludes the regular season next week with home games against the University at Albany (April 16; 3 p.m.) and the University of Oregon (April 20; 11 a.m.).

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