Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) recorded two points and Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) tallied 10 saves, but 19th-ranked University of New Hampshire was defeated 5-3 by 20th-ranked Cornell University in women’s lacrosse action at Memorial Field on Monday afternoon.

UNH, which has alternated wins and losses in the past eight games, is now 8-5 overall. Cornell improved to 6-4.

Durepo gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead at 27:29 of the first half. Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) cut down the left wing and centered the ball to Durepo, who scored from close range.

The Big Red pulled even, 1-1, at 19:45 when Jessica Wiegand scored on a free position from the top-left of the fan with a high shot into the net.

Wiegand was awarded another free position on the top left with 17 minutes on the clock and once again attempted a high shot, but this time Gunts made the save. Libby Johnson fired a shot from the left wing that caromed off the crossbar at 14:20 of the first half.

Cornell took a 2-1 lead – a lead the visitors would not relinquish – at 12:29. On a re-start outside of the fan on the left wing, Jessi Steinberg immediately found Shannon McHugh alone deep on the left side and she scored from close range.

One minute later, Durepo carried the ball down the right wing in transition and her low shot from eight meters was stopped by CU goalie Kristen Reese. Reese once again preserved the one-goal lead at 8:51 when she turned aside Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) on a free position.

The Big Red cleared the ball to the offensive zone, where Johnson’s low shot from the left side bounced into the cage at 8:27 to give Cornell a 3-1 advantage.

Reese denied Kaplan’s free-position shot at 5:19, then at the other end of the field Gunts kept the ‘Cats within two goals by turning aside Kate Dewey at 4:37. UNH quickly advanced the ball upfield but Reese once again stymied the ‘Cat attack.

A patient Cornell attack generated a free position for McHugh, and she extended the Big Red’s lead to 4-1 at 2:21 on a low shot from the top-right of the fan.

New Hampshire controlled the ensuing draw, but offensively produced a shot blocked by the defense and another wide before CU regained possession with 1:20 remaining in the opening half. In the closing seconds, McHugh’s shot was stopped by Gunts to send the teams into halftime with the visitors leading 4-1.

Both Gunts and Reese made an impressive save in the opening four minutes of the second half. UNH opened the second half with possession and ran a set in which Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) caught the feed from behind the net at the right post, but Reese slid into position to snare the high shot. At 26:15, Cornell was awarded a free position at the top right of the fan. Instead of shooting, the Big Red elected to pass and found McHugh alone at the left post. Gunts, however, slid from the top of the crease to make the stop.

UNH ended the Big Red’s streak of four consecutive goals with a tally at 25:55 when Hardy raced into the fan for her 19th goal of the season.

Gunts made another save at 21:21 against Katie Kirk, but Cornell retained possession and Johnson scored her second of the game from the middle of the fan to give the Big Red a 5-2 advantage at 19:51.

The Wildcats had a quick response, however, as Kellen Millard (Ipswich, Mass.) controlled the ensuing draw and advanced the ball to Durepo. From just outside the top-left of the fan, Durepo found Keagins cutting across the fan and she scored at 19:31 to pull the ‘Cats within 5-3.
At 17:56, Reese once again thwarted the ‘Cat attack by stopping yet another free-position shot.

Three minutes later, Cornell once again attempted a pass off a free position. Once again, however, Gunts shifted to make the save against Halsey Diakow at the left post.

With 12:16 on the clock, Cohen was found cutting through the middle of the fan and her shot from close range was stopped by Reese.

Cornell called time out at 11:54, but neither team recorded a shot in the span leading to UNH’s timeout at 4:45.

The ‘Cats once again went on the attack with two minutes to play, and Keagins’ shot was turned away by Reese. Duclos caused a turnover at 1:18 and Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.) corralled the ground ball.

UNH was awarded a free position with 57 seconds remaining, but Reese again answered the challenge to preserve her team’s two-goal advantage.

The Big Red regained possession with 29 seconds on the clock and cleared the ball to the offensive zone to secure the victory.

Gunts finished with 10 saves for the ‘Cats and Reese was credited with 13 saves.

UNH’s Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) recorded eight ground balls and five caused turnovers, as well as two draw controls, to anchor the defensive effort. Stankus finished with three CTO and two GB.

Cornell recorded a 23-19 shot advantage and a 22-14 edge in ground balls. UNH won the draw control battle (6-4) and also committed fewer turnovers (18-21).

The three goals marked UNH’s lowest goal output since the Wildcats netted three goals March 5, 2005 at Dartmouth College. The last time the ‘Cats held the opposition to five goals (or fewer) and lost a game was the 1991 NCAA semifinal against Maryland (4-3 loss).

New Hampshire returns to action April 8 at home against 11th-ranked Vanderbilt University. Game time is 1 p.m.

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