DURHAM, N.H. – Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) scored with seven seconds remaining in double overtime to lift the 16th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to a 13-12 victory against the University of Oregon in Sunday’s Senior Day game at Memorial Field.
UNH won its sixth consecutive home game to end the regular season with a 12-4 overall record. The Wildcats are the third seed in the America East Championships and will play the University of Vermont in an April 25 (4 p.m.) semifinal game at Boston University’s Nickerson Field. Oregon concludes the regular season at 11-6.
Hardy led the ‘Cat attack with five goals and two assists to match her career high of seven points. Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.; 3g, 1a), Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.; 3g) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.; 2g) also recorded multiple points; Kaplan also tallied five draw controls, two ground balls and two caused turnovers. Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.) finished with six saves, including four in the second half and one in the first six-minute overtime session.
Oregon was led offensively by Ilsa van den Berg (4g, 3a), Theresa Waldron (2g, 3a) and Jenny Browne (3g, 1a). Anna Poponyak was credited with 10 saves, including one in the first OT and another in the sudden-victory second overtime frame.
With the score tied 11-11 at the end of regulation, the Ducks won the opening draw and appeared to take the lead when Jen May (1g, 1a) shot the ball into the net at 2:37 in the first half of the first OT. The goal was disallowed due to an illegal crosse, however. The Ducks regained possession late in that frame and a quick transition attack led to van den Berg’s goal deep on the right side at :53.
The visitors held that 12-11 lead when the teams changed ends of the field for the second half of the first OT. Kaplan won that draw control and pulled the Wildcats even, 12-12 with 2:14 to play. Hardy, from outside the top of the fan, slipped a pass over the defense to an unmarked Kaplan in the middle of the fan and she shot high into the net.
Oregon gained possession of the ensuing draw control and held the ball for the last shot – a bid by van den Berg from the left wing with 10 seconds left that Milley stopped at the near post.
The teams headed to double overtime – a three-minute sudden-victory period – tied at 12. The Ducks briefly gained control off the draw control, but Talbot forced a turnover with a stick check and gathered the loose ball. On that UNH possession, Kaplan was awarded a free position with 23 seconds on the clock. She elected to pass to Hardy in the middle, but Poponyak made the save to prolong the game. The Wildcats maintained possession off the rebound, however, and Hardy drove through the middle of the fan before releasing a high shot that sailed into the net to end the game.
Neither team led by more than two goals – in fact, the only two-goal margin the entire game occurred when Oregon led 4-2 – in a game that saw 11 ties and five lead changes.
The Ducks took a 1-0 lead at 25:25 of the first half when May scored off van den Berg’s pass. UNH pulled even at 23:30 on Hardy’s unassisted goal but the visitors regained the lead, 2-1, just 18 seconds later when Browne converted Carrie Bateman’s pass into a goal.
Hardy’s second goal of the game, this time on a free position from the top of the fan with a low shot that bounced under the crossbar, leveled the score, 2-2, at 20:18. van den Berg potted goals at 19:13 and 18:16 to give Oregon a 4-2 lead and prompt New Hampshire to call time out.
And the Wildcats responded with two goals in 18 seconds. Immediately off the draw, Kaplan gained possession just outside the offensive restraining line and ran into open space down the right side of the fan to score on a shot into the upper-right corner of the goal at 18:09. Kaplan once again won the ball off the draw, and her pass upfield led to a free position for Von Bargen, who charged from the top of the fan and shot into the upper-right corner to pull the ‘Cats even, 4-4, at 17:58.
New Hampshire made it three consecutive goals in a span of 2:06 to take its first lead of the game, 5-4, at 16:03 when Kaplan, from behind the net, connected with Talbot in front of the goal.
Oregon quelled the spurt and tied the score at 5 when Alex Breiner (1g, 1a) scored off a pass from May at 13:33. Von Bargen once again cut through the middle of the fan and found the upper-right corner to put the ‘Cats back in front, 6-5, less than one minute later (at 12:47).
van den Berg set up tallies by Waldron (at 10:24) and Jana Bradley (4:25) to give the Ducks a 7-6 lead, but UNH took an 8-7 lead into halftime on goals by Talbot – at 3:56 when she rolled from behind net to the left post – and Hardy at 2:33 when she caught the ball outside the top of the fan, drove the middle and fired a high shot.
In the second half, Oregon once again regained the lead, 9-8, on consecutive goals by Browne at 24:44 and 21:19, both of which were set up by a Waldron pass.
UNH responded with consecutive goals to take a 10-9 advantage. Talbot evened the score at 20:35 when Maureen Wark (Yarmouth, Maine), from the left wing, fed a pass to Talbot curling around the left post and she scored from point-blank range in front of the net. Kaplan put the ‘Cats in front as, cutting across the fan from left-to-right, she corralled Hardy’s pass in the middle and fired a shot into the goal at 12:48.
Waldron, on a free-position shot into the upper-left corner from deep on the left wing, tied the score, 10-10, at 7:26. The Ducks took an 11-10 lead at 6:00 when Waldron curled from behind the net to the right post and sent a pass across the circle to an unmarked van den Berg for the score.
Oregon won the ensuing draw control, but UNH’s Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) force a turnover to give possession to the Wildcats. The Ducks’ defense responded at the other end of the field with a turnover created by Alicia Burkhart and Oregon called time out with possession at midfield and 5:18 on the clock.
Almost immediately after play resumed, the Wildcats forced another turnover – this time by Bailley Mazur (Longmeadow, Mass.) – and Milley gathered the loose ball. After UNH advanced the ball to the offensive end, the teams exchanged turnovers to give the ‘Cats possession with 3:26 remaining.
A patient Wildcat attack then yielded Hardy’s game-tying goal at 1:32. Ashley Crook (South Burlington, Vt.) drew a double team outside the top of the fan and slipped a pass to Hardy in the middle and her shot found the back of the net.
The visitors once again gained possession off the draw, but UNH’s defense once again created a turnover on a stick check by Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.). And it was once again Milley who scooped up the loose ball to give the ‘Cats the ball with one minute left in regulation.
New Hampshire called time out with 40 seconds on the clock. The Wildcats lost control on a drive through the fan in the waning moments to send the game into overtime.
UNH recorded a 25-21 shot advantage, including 4-2 in the extra sessions. Oregon tallied a 17-12 edge in draw controls but also committed more turnovers (23-15). The teams finished tied in ground balls at 15.
This marked the last game at Memorial Field for UNH’s five-member senior class: Crook, Mazur, Milley, Talbot and Wark.