BOSTON  -- The 14th-ranked University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team erased a 7-5 deficit with two Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) goals to force overtime, but eighth-ranked Boston University scored the initial two goals of the six-minute extra session and fended off UNH, 9-8, to win the America East championship at Nickerson Field on Sunday.

UNH, the only team to hold BU to single figures in goals this season (the Wildcats did so twice this season, including a 7-6 loss at Nickerson Field two weeks ago), is now 13-5 overall and awaits the NCAA selection show on May 5 to learn if they will receive an at-large bid.

BU, which will now play an NCAA play-in game May 3, extended its winning streak to 15 games to improve to 16-2 overall.

Von Bargen (three goals) and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.; goal, two assists), both of whom were selected to the All-Championship Team, finished with three points and Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) tallied two goals to lead the ‘Cat attack.

UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.), who was also named to the All-Championship Team, was credited with eight saves. Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Ashley Crook (South Burlington, Vt.) had single tallies. Crook also recorded three draw controls, two ground balls and one caused turnover while Kaplan had four draw controls.

BU’s offense was led by Sarah Dalton (3g, 3a), Lauren Morton (3g, 1a) and Traci Landy (3g). Rachel Klein made nine saves, including one in OT.

The Terriers trailed 4-3 at halftime but netted four of the first five goals in the second half to take a 7-5 lead with 23:18 to play in regulation.

Milley kept UNH within two goals by denying Xan Weitzel at 22:30 and Landy at 17:10. The Wildcats’ defense also held steadfast by forcing BU into turnovers, and Crook’s caused turnover with just under 12 minutes to play set up New Hampshire’s sixth goal.

With the ‘Cats still executing a patient attack off that turnover, Von Bargen held the ball at the top-left of the offensive zone. She meandered to the center and then attacked through the fan to fire a shot into the net at 11:01 that pulled UNH within 7-6.

BU gained possession on the ensuing draw control but Kelli PaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) quickly forced a turnover to give the ball to UNH. The teams then exchanged possessions and UNH called time out with 5:01 on the clock.

Another patient attack out of the timeout culminated in a Von Bargen goal to tie the score, 7-7, at 3:29. From the top-right of the fan, Von Bargen cut down the right side to beat a double team and circled behind the net to the left post, where she fired a shot near-side into the goal.

Von Bargen won control on the ensuing draw, and with 1:24 to play Hardy’s low shot on a free position bounced off Klein and over the crossbar. The ‘Cats retained possession behind the net, which led to Crook’s blocked shot and BU possession.

Landy fired the ball into the net with 10 seconds remaining, but the goal was disallowed due to an illegal crosse to send the game into OT.

In the first three-minute half of overtime, BU won the opening draw but Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.) caused a turnover and picked up the ground ball. The ‘Cats again went into a perimeter attack but lost possession with 1:20 on the clock. Landy scored at :40 on a shot from the left side and, after winning the draw, BU scored at :03 when Dalton scored off Morton’s feed from behind the net to give the home team a 9-7 advantage.

Boston U. won the opening draw of the second half of OT and called time out with 1:41 on the clock. With Milley out of her net to challenge a pass behind the goal, the Terriers lost possession out of bounds.

The Wildcats quickly advanced the ball to Crook at midfield and she charged down the middle of the fan before firing a shot into the left side of the net at 1:21 to pull the ‘Cats within 9-8.

Kaplan gained possession on the draw, which led to Hardy’s bid in which she outran the defense on the right side, curled behind the net to the left post and continued to the middle, where her high shot was stopped by Klein with 33 seconds remaining.

BU called a timeout with :22 on the clock and kept possession the rest of the way to secure the victory.

New Hampshire took a 2-0 lead on goals by Talbot at 24:11 and Kaplan at 18:01.

Talbot’s transition tally was set up by Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) at the top of the fan, who found Kaplan to her right and she executed a quick pass low to Talbot, who turned and fired a shot inside the right post. Milley kept BU scoreless with a pair of saves before Kaplan extended the advantage to 2-0 on a free position from the left wing in which she charged the net and shot high for the score.

Dalton’s unassisted goal lifted BU within 2-1 at 13:56 but Kaplan connected with Von Bargen to push the visitor’s lead back to two goals, 3-1, at 12:38. Kaplan, on the left side of the fan, hit Von Bargen as she curled from behind the net at the left post, and she then deposited a shot into the left side.

The teams then went scoreless for 10 minutes, but then produced three goals in the last three minutes of the half. Dalton struck at 2:40 but the ‘Cats once again had a quick response with Hardy’s team-leading 51st goal of the season at 2:15 when she attacked down the right side of the fan and found open space inside the near post.

Morton scored the first of her three tallies at 1:08 to pull BU within 4-3 at the half. She also opened the second-half scoring at 29:14 to level the score, then Landy struck at 27:59 to give the Terriers their first lead of the game, 5-4.

Talbot, on a free position on the left wing, scored on a low shot to lift UNH into a 5-5 tie at 26:24.

Morton struck again at 24:08 and Landy scored 50 seconds later to prompt a New Hampshire time out at 23:18. The Wildcats held BU scoreless for 25:38 before the Terriers scored in overtime.


NOTES: Hardy extended her goal-scoring streak to 15 games … Von Bargen extended her goal-scoring streak to 11 games … Kaplan extended her point-scoring streak to 17 games … Talbot has 99 career goals.

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