DURHAM, N.H. – Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) recorded a game-high four points with two goals and two assists, but the 18th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team was defeated 11-7 by 10th-ranked Vanderbilt University at Memorial Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The Wildcats are now 8-6 overall with five losses to nationally-ranked teams. Vanderbilt won its sixth consecutive game to improve to 8-3.
In addition to Kaplan, who was also credited with three ground balls, one caused turnover and one draw control, Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.; 2g) and Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.; 1g, 1a) tallied multiple points for the ‘Cats. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) finished with eight saves, including five in the second half.
Commodores’ goalkeeper Natalie Wills made 13 of her 14 saves in the second half. Cara Giordano (3g), Sarah Downing (2g, 1a) and Ally Carey (1g, 2a) led the visitor’s attack with three points apiece.
VU took a 1-0 lead at 25:38 when Carey, deep on the right side, found Giordano in front and she scored on a high shot into the net.
UNH pulled even, 1-1, on a goal by Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) at 23:36. Hardy gained possession at the top of the attack zone and raced towards the middle of the fan. She sent a pass low to Cohen, who scored on a high shot.
The Wildcats, who utilized a deliberately patient perimeter attack in the first half, took a 2-1 lead at 21:09 on Kaplan’s unassisted goal. From the left wing, she cut inside a defender to the front of the cage and scored from close range.
Vanberbilt scored 63 seconds apart to take a 3-2 lead. From deep on the right wing, Allie Frank made a short pass to Katherine Denkler at the post for a goal at 19:38. Carey drove from the top of the fan to score an unassisted goal at 18:35.
New Hampshire leveled the score, 3-3, at 11:22 on Kaplan’s second goal of the game and 20th of the season. From the left side of the fan, Durepo moved the ball back to Kaplan high in the attack zone. She beat a defender and sliced through the middle of the fan before firing a shot into the goal.
The visitors called time out at that point and regained the lead, 4-3, at 8:54 when Laura Keenan scored on a free position with a shot from the top of the fan into the lower right corner.
Gunts denied Giordano on a free-position shot in the waning seconds to keep UNH’s deficit at 4-3 heading into halftime.
VU opened the second half with three consecutive tallies to build a 7-3 advantage. Giordano struck at 27:56 with a drive down the right side of the fan, then Carter Foote, off a pass from Downing, scored at 22:55 to push the lead to 6-3.
At 21:50, Von Bargen was awarded a free position and her sidearm shot from the top left of the fan ricocheted off the crossbar. UNH retained possession, however, and Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) was stoned twice at the top of the crease by Wills.
Vandy eventually gained possession and extended the advantage to 7-3 at 20:44. Carey, from the top of the fan, found Denkler in the middle and she scored her second goal of the game.
The ‘Cats called a timeout and won the ensuing draw control. Wills made a stop against a free position-shot, but Deb Dale (East Northport, N.Y.) gathered the ground ball to keep UNH on the attack. Von Bargen maneuvered past two defenders on the left wing to cut to the middle of the fan and score from close range at 19:52 to trim the deficit to 7-4.
UNH struck again 62 seconds later when Kaplan, from behind the left post, executed a pass over the top of the goal to Durepo, who was cutting from the top of the fan and scored from close range.
The Commodores responded 65 seconds later – at 17:45 – to reestablish a three-goal lead of 8-5. On a free position from the top right of the fan, Foote quickly passed the ball low to the right post, where Downing one-time a shot into the net.
The Wildcats pulled within 8-6 at 14:07 when Kaplan, on a free position from the right wing, passed the ball across the fan to Von Bargen for her 50th goal of the season.
Thirty-four seconds later, Vandy pushed its lead to 9-6 on Alex Priddy’s goal from the right wing off a pass by Emily Franke. The visitors controlled the ensuing draw, but Gunts kept the difference at three goals when she stopped Denkler’s low free-position shot at 12:56.
Wills made three saves in the next 2:30, but Kaplan intercepted a clearing attempt and moved the ball ahead to Hardy in the top of the attack zone. She quickly maneuvered down the middle of the fan and fired a shot inside the left post to trim the deficit to 9-7 at 10:31.
The ‘Cats won the ensuing draw, but Wills stopped Von Bargen’s low shot and also turned aside Susie Piotrkowski (Franklin, Conn.) with 8:00 remaining to keep VU’s lead at two goals.
Vanderbilt extended its advantage to 10-7 at 5:10 when Downing shifted from the top-right side of the fan to the left and scored on a shot from the top left of the fan.
UNH gained possession with 4:30 to play and recorded a shot wide of the net at 4:10. The ‘Cats retained control but were unable to tally another shot before the Commodores took possession with 3:16 on the clock.
Beth Sabiston (Bayshore, N.Y.) immediately caused a turnover, however, to give the ball back to New Hampshire. Wills once again responded to the challenge with two saves in the next 90 seconds.
VU secured the victory when Giordano scored from the top of the fan with 43 seconds left in the game.
UNH finished with the slight edge in shots (30-29) and ground balls (23-33). VU had a 12-7 advantage in draw controls and the turnovers were even at 17.
New Hampshire returns to action April 11 at home against LeMoyne College. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.