BOSTON -- Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) scored three goals to lead the University of New Hampshire attack, but the 17th-ranked Wildcats were defeated 16-6 by 12-ranked and top-seeded Boston University in Saturday afternoon’s title game of the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship at Nickerson Field.
UNH, which entered the game with a four-game winning streak, ends its season at 12-7 and as the league runner-up for the sixth time in eight years. BU won its 13th consecutive game – 11th in a row in the series vs. New Hampshire – to improve to 15-3 and advance to the NCAA tournament.
Von Bargen, who also had two ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers, was joined on the All-Championship Team by teammates Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) and Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.). Kaplan tallied one goal and one ground ball in the championship game, while Stankus was credited with one ground ball.
UNH starting goalkeeper Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) made five saves and surrendered 15 goals in 51 minutes, 34 seconds; she and Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.) finished with a team-high three ground balls. Nikki Hume (Hampton, N.H.) allowed a goal on the only shot she faced in the final 8:26.
BU counterpart Rachel Klein stopped eight shots. The Terriers’ offense was led by MVP Sarah Dalton, who tallied six goals, McKinley Curro (3g, 3a) and Xan Weitzel (1g, 4a).
BU, which was held scoreless in the first half of the April 1 regular-season meeting at UNH, took a 1-0 lead at 2:18 into the game when Weitzel, from behind the goal line on the right side, hit Steph Walker cutting down the middle and she placed a shot inside the left post.
The Terriers won the ensuing draw control and that led to Dalton’s drive down the middle of the fan, but Gunts corralled the high shot to keep the differential at one goal.
New Hampshire pulled even, 1-1, at 25:15. Off a re-start behind the UNH net, Von Bargen intercepted a pass and curled around the left post to the front doorstep, where she fired a low shot into the net.
BU responded with goals at 24:29 and 23:47 to spark an 8-0 run over the next 20 minutes; the Terriers won nine of the game’s initial 10 draw controls to fuel the spurt. Dalton one-timed Weitzel’s high pass from close range to give the home team a 2-1 lead, then Curro scored from point-blank range on a shot under the crossbar.
One minute later, Kaplan had possession behind the goal line on the left side and she fired a pass across the goal mouth to Deb Dale (East Northport, N.Y.), and her shot beat Klein but ricocheted off the crossbar.
Walker struck again at 18:52 on a free-position shot from the right wing into the upper-right corner to extend the lead to 4-1.
At 17:20, Von Bargen drove on the left wing and rifled a shot off the near post. At the other end of the field, Weitzel once again set up behind the goal and connected with Alyssa Kovach to push the advantage to 5-1 at 16:13.
UNH took time out at that point, but BU struck next at 11:33 on a goal by Curro, who slashed in from the left side and bounced a shot into the net. The Terriers followed with goals 19 seconds apart at 10:52 and 10:33 to quickly extend the advantage to 8-1.
Curro scored her second goal of the game on a free-position at 6:15 before Von Bargen, on a free position from the top right into the upper-near corner, struck again at 4:54. Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) was awarded a free position on the top left, drove to the open middle of the fan and shot into the upper-right corner to lift the ‘Cats within 9-3 at 3:52.
The Terriers then executed a high-low play from Kovach to Dalton at 2:35 to take a 10-3 lead into halftime.
Dalton, off a pass from Weitzel, opened the second-half scoring at 25:12 and Erica Baumgartner made the score 12-3 with a drive from the left wing to the middle of the fan at 24:11.
Von Bargen was awarded a free position, and from the top left she rifled a high shot inside the near post at 22:40 to trim the deficit to 12-4.
Kaplan hit the left post with 21 minutes remaining and then five minutes later hit the right post on a free-position shot from the left side.
BU then pushed the lead to double digits, 15-4, on a Rachel Collins’ goal at 14:19 and consecutive goals by Dalton at 11:32 and 8:35.
UNH took its second timeout at that point and Hume entered the game in goal for the ‘Cats.
New Hampshire responded with goals 55 seconds apart. Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) set up the first tally when she corralled a loose ball in the defensive zone, carried the ball up the left side of the field into the offensive zone and made a forward pass to Kaplan, who raced down the middle of the fan and scored from close range at 7:35 to extend her point-scoring streak to 12 games.
Von Bargen won the ensuing draw control near the offensive zone and quickly flipped the ball up toHayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.). She sped in behind the defense on the right side and scored to cut the margin to single figures, 15-6, at 6:40.
Rausch controlled the next draw, but the ‘Cats fired wide of the cage and lost possession to the Terriers. BU methodically moved the ball and Collins reestablished a double-digit lead, 16-6, at 3:50.
UNH once again controlled the draw, but the Terriers got the ball back with 2:13 remaining and utilized perimeter passing on the attack to run out the clock.
Von Bargen increased her season totals to 62 goals and 71 points, and those numbers rank second and fifth, respectively, on UNH’s list of single-season superlatives. She ends her Wildcat career with 174 goals (third) and 203 points (fifth).
BU recorded the edge in shots (26-20) and ground balls (15-13) while also committing fewer turnovers (9-10). Draw controls ended even at 12.
This marked the last game for UNH’s six seniors, including Sabiston, Stankus and Von Bargen; their classmates are Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.), Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) and Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.).