DURHAM, N.H. – Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) scored her 100th career goal as part of a six-point effort that propelled the 16th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to Wednesday afternoon’s 17-7 America East victory against the University at Albany at Memorial Field.
UNH, which has won all 10 lifetime meetings in the series vs. Albany, won its fifth consecutive home game to improve to 11-4 overall and 4-2 in America East. With the victory, the Wildcats secured the third seed in the America East Championships, which will be April 25 & 27 at Boston University. The Great Danes are now 8-7, 2-3.
Von Bargen entered the game with 95 career tallies and attained the personal milestone at 1:22 of the first half, when her fifth goal of the game gave the ‘Cats a 10-5 lead.
Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) both scored four goals for the Wildcats. Kaplan also tallied an assist to finish with five points as well as three ground balls, three draw controls and one caused turnover.
UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.) established a single-season high in wins with her 11th victory behind a 10-save effort. Albany counterpart Katie Neer also had 10 saves, while the Great Danes’ offense was led by Kayla Best (2g, 1a), Jodi Battaglia (2g) and Molly Ortolano (2g).
The Wildcats rolled out to a 6-0 lead in the opening 13:09, led 11-5 at halftime and netted the initial three goals of the second half to extend their advantage to 14-5. Albany was unable to get closer than eight goals the rest of the way.
Von Bargen opened the game scoring on a free-position goal from the left wing at 29:33 and Hardy potted an unassisted goal at 28:59. Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.), on the top left side of the fan, found Von Bargen down low and she converted the pass into a goal and a 3-0 lead at 25:19.
The tandem of Von Bargen and Kaplan extended the advantage to 4-0 at 21:48. Off a free position on the left wing, Von Bargen centered a pass to Kaplan, who fired a shot into the upper-left corner. Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) set up the next goal with a pass from behind the net to the right post, where Von Bargen one-timed a shot into the upper-right corner at 18:23. Kaplan’s drive through the middle of the fan produced a goal and UNH’s 6-0 lead at 16:51.
Albany pulled within 6-3 by scoring three goals in as many minutes. Battaglia ignited the spurt with a goal on a free position from the top of the fan at 16:06, then Brittany Scott scored from the left wing off a feed from Best at 15:56. Battaglia struck again on a free position at 13:01.
Talbot scored on a drive down the middle of the fan at 7:40 and Von Bargen scored a free-position goal at 6:12 to extend New Hampshire’s lead to 8-3. The teams then exchanged goals as Best trimmed the deficit to four goals at 5:00, Durepo scored on a free position at 3:55 and Molly Ortolano struck 45 seconds later to make the score 9-5. Von Bargen’s 29th goal of the season – and 100th of her career – put UNH in front 10-5 and Kaplan scored with 55 seconds remaining to close the first half scoring.
The Wildcats executed a more deliberate attack in the second half to extend their advantage to 14-5. Susie Piotrkowski (Franklin, Conn.) goals at 25:04 and 13:50 were sandwiched around Hardy’s 40th goal of the season at 24:11.
Ortolano’s second goal of the game trimmed Albany’s deficit to 14-6 at 11:06, but Kaplan scored 31 seconds later and Hardy’s tally, off a pass from Kaplan, at 8:43 extended the differential to double digits at 16-6. Hardy scored her team-high 42nd goal of the season at 5:13.
Best netted a free-position goal at 3:08 to close the scoring.
Hardy extended her goal-scoring streak to 12 games and Kaplan’s point-scoring streak now stands at 14 games.
UNH entered the week ranked No. 4 nationally in defense by yielding 7.29 goals per game. Wednesday marked the 10th time this season that the Wildcats held the opposition at seven (or less) goals.
The Wildcats recorded the advantage in both shots (35-18) and ground balls (12-8), and also committed fewer turnovers (9-17). Albany recorded a 16-10 edge in draw controls.
New Hampshire concludes the regular season April 20 (11 a.m.) against the University of Oregon. The Wildcats’ five-member senior class will be honored before the game.