DURHAM, N.H. – Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) both recorded three points in a balanced attack that led the University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon’s 11-4 America East victory against UMBC at Memorial Field.
UNH, which netted the initial four goals of the second half and outscored the Retrievers 10-3 in the last 30 minutes, won its sixth consecutive game to improve to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in the conference. It is the Wildcats’ longest winning streak since a nine-game win streak in 2006. UMBC lost its fifth straight to fall to 2-7, 1-2.
Hardy scored three goals and Kaplan finished with two goals and an assist while Ashley Crook (South Burlington, Vt.), Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) each tallied two goals for the Wildcats. Durepo also recorded a game-high four ground balls as well as two draw controls and a caused turnover.
UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.), the reigning two-time America East Defensive Player of the Week, was credited with four saves in both halves for a total of eight. She also tallied two caused turnovers and two ground balls.
UMBC goalie Kate Quick made nine saves and the Retrievers’ offense was led by Ali Levendusky’s three-goal effort.
With the score tied 1-1 at the start of the second half, Kaplan gained possession of the draw control and raced unabated down the middle of the field to give the Wildcats a 2-1 advantage at 29:50. UNH won the ensuing draw control and Quick made one of her four second-half saves to deny Von Bargen on a free position, but the ‘Cats maintained possession and Hardy scored at 28:06 to extend the cushion to 3-1.
Both Milley and Quick made one save in the next eight minutes, then Hardy potted her second unassisted goal of the game to give New Hampshire a 4-1 lead at 19:45.
The Wildcats again won possession on the ensuing draw control. Quick denied Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) but UNH corralled the loose ball. That led to Von Bargen’s free-position goal at 17:37, which extended the Wildcats’ advantage to 5-1.
UMBC called time out at that point. The Retrievers did not win the draw control, but forced a Wildcat turnover and Levendusky scored her second goal of the game to trim the deficit to 5-2 at 16:43.
Crook gave the ‘Cats a 6-2 lead at 15:34 on a coast-to-coast play in which she intercepted a pass in the middle of the defensive fan, carried the ball upfield into the middle of the offensive zone and then fired a shot into the goal.
UNH continued to pull away when Hardy netted her team-leading 19th goal of the season at 11:42. Megan Cook, off a pass from Erika Braerman on the right wing, lifted UMBC within 7-3 at 7:22. The Retrievers won the ensuing draw control, but they could get no closer as Megan Linkous’ shot was stopped by Milley. Then at the other end of the field, Von Bargen – off a feed from Kaplan – struck at 4:19 to give the ‘Cats an 8-3 lead.
Kaplan (at 2:57), Durepo (1:45) and Crook (1:18) each scored a second goal of the day to push UNH’s lead to 11-3 in the closing minutes. Levendusky closed the scoring with 47 seconds remaining.
The first half was a low-scoring affair in which the teams combined for 21 shots and 19 turnovers. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead at 23:55 when Durepo netted a free-position goal and the home team maintained that advantage until Levendusky potted an unassisted goal at 4:45.
UNH finished with a 29-17 shot advantage, including a 17-8 margin in the decisive second half. The Wildcats also recorded the slight edge in ground balls (17-15), draw controls (10-7) and turnovers (17-21).
New Hampshire returns to action March 25 (3 p.m.) at UMass. The Wildcats’ next home game is March 29 (12 p.m.) against Binghamton University.