Kate Keagins (Bayshore, N.Y.) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.), the two-time reigning America East Player of the Week, both scored three second-half goals to ignite the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to Wednesday afternoon’s 13-10 come-from-behind victory against the University of Massachusetts at Memorial Field.

UNH outscored the visitors 10-2 in the second half to erase an 8-3 halftime deficit, and the Wildcats extended their home unbeaten streak to nine games to improve to 6-2. The Minutewomen, who have lost four straight in the series vs. the ‘Cats, are 3-5.

Von Bargen finished with a game-high four goals to push her goal-scoring streak to 20 games (17 consecutive multiple-goal efforts). The three goals – and points – marked career highs for Keagins. Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) recorded four points with three goals and an assist; she tallied three points during the second-half comeback and also finished with four ground balls, one draw control and one caused turnover.

Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) entered the game at the outset of the second half and earned the win. She was credited with two saves and yielded just two goals. UNH’s defensive effort was led by Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.), who was credited with five caused turnovers – including two in the last three minutes of the game – and four ground balls, and Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.), who tallied three GB and one CTO. Wildcats’ starting goalie Nikki Hume (North Hampton, N.H.) stopped three of 11 shots on goal.

UMass generated a balanced attack with four players – Holly Drown (3g), Jackie Lyons (3g), Haley Smith (2g, 1a) and Meghan Reddy (1g, 2a) – at three points apiece. Goalkeeper Katie Florence made 17 saves, including 10 in the second half when UNH generated a 21-7 shot advantage.

New Hampshire entered the second half trailing 8-3, but pulled within four goals at 28:40 when LaPerch carried the ball behind the net and connected with Durepo, who was cutting down the middle of the fan.

The Minutewomen reestablished a five-goal advantage, 9-4, when Smith scored off a free position deep on the left wing at 26:07.

UNH then utilized a 4-0 run in a five-minute span to trim the deficit to 9-8. Durepo ignited the spurt at 22:25 when she cut down the middle of the fan and fired a shot into the upper-right corner.

The duo of Keagins and Susie Piotrkowski (Franklin, Conn.) combined to lift the ‘Cats within 9-6 at 20:23. From behind the net, Piotrkowski found Keagins cutting down the middle of the fan. Von Bargen’s free-position goal – from deep on the right side, she maneuvered even further wide and fired a shot off Florence that carried into the net – 58 seconds later made the score 9-7.

Durepo and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.), who also had two caused turnovers and two ground balls, pulled UNH within 9-8 at 17:35 when Durepo, off a free position deep on the right side, found Kaplan cutting from the opposite wing to the middle.

In the next two minutes, Florence made three saves to preserve the Minutewomen’s one-goal lead. Then Lyons scored her third goal of the game – on a free position from the top of the fan – at 13:52 to push the UMass lead to 10-8.

UNH’s defense, which entered the week ranked eighth in the nation, stifled the visitors the rest of the way. The Wildcats did not allow another goal and yielded just one shot – and that was wide of the cage with 11 seconds remaining.

The ‘Cat attack, meanwhile, steadily put goals on the scoreboard. New Hampshire pulled within 10-9 at 10:28 when Keagins caught a pass from Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) in traffic in the middle of the circle, stopped and fired a shot into the goal.

Keagins’ third goal of the game – this time she maneuvered through three defenders in the middle of the fan before shooting the ball inside the left post – evened the score, 10-10, at 8:32.

UMass won the ensuing draw control, but one of Stankus’ caused turnovers gave possession back to UNH. A patient attack finally yielded a free position for Duclos, who took one step and rocketed a shot under the crossbar to give the Wildcats their first lead since 2-0 at 11-10 with 6:17 remaining.

The ‘Cats controlled the next draw and recorded one shot wide and another that was stopped by Florence. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) then created a turnover that set up Von Bargen’s third strike of the game at 3:50, which pushed UNH’s advantage to 12-10. She curled from behind the net to the left post and dropped a shot in the middle of the net for her 36th goal of the season.

UMass won the next draw control, but Stankus caused a turnover at 3:09 and then another at 2:36. UNH emthodically moved the ball upfield and Von Bargen pushed the lead to 13-10 at 1:23 when she drove the left wing and scored on a low shot.

LaPerch helped seal the victory when she intercepted a pass in the defensive zone with 57 seconds on the clock.

UNH scored the first two goals of the game to build a 2-0 lead. Von Bargen converted a free position from the top of the fan into a goal at 25:55, when Durepo drove through the right side of the fan to score at 24:39.

UMass scored the next six goals, however, to build a 6-2 advantage. Lyons opened the spurt at 19:35 and Reddy scored a free-position goal at 17:11 to level the score, 2-2. Drown, off a pass from Smith, gave the Minutewomen their first lead of the game at 11:43 and then Merritt Cosgrove potted a free-position goal at 9:41 to make it 4-2. Drown struck again at 6:22 and 5:38 to push the lead to four goals.

Rausch ended the run at 3:38. Kaplan was awarded a free position deep on the right wing, but she passed the ball to Rausch cutting down the middle and scored on a high shot.

Smith, with the assistance of Reddy, gave UMass a 7-3 lead at 2:58 and Lyons scored with one second remaining in the half to put the visitors ahead 8-3 at halftime.

UNH finished with a 38-20 shot advantage. The ‘Cats also had a 20-14 edge in ground balls and committed fewer turnovers by a 13-27 margin. UMass had the 12-11 advantage in draw controls.

New Hampshire returns to action March 21 (1 p.m.) with its America East opener at Albany. The Wildcats’ next home game is March 28 (1 p.m.) against Stony Brook.


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