The University of New Hampshire (12-6 overall, 4-2 America East), ranked 17th in both of this week’s national polls, continues 2009 postseason play May 2 in the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship title game against Boston University (14-3). Game time at BU’s Nickerson Field is 1 p.m.
Tickets, available on game day, are $8 for adults, $5 for youth under 14 and $2 for all America East students with valid school ID. The championship contest will be streamed live in partnership with Pack Network – and live stats will also be available – at the America East Zone.
UNH has an 11-18 lifetime record, including this year’s 9-8 regular-season loss at home, against Boston University. BU has won 10 consecutive games in the series – and that includes five postseason matchups – since the ‘Cats were 11-9 victors in the 2004 league championship game in Durham. Three of the last four games have been decided by one goal, however, and that includes last year’s America East title game in overtime.
New Hampshire has a 7-8 road record vs. the Terriers. UNH has lost five straight at Nickerson Field dating back to the 2004 regular-season matchup (7-6 win).
BU has a 9-1 record against UNH in postseason play. This includes 8-1 in America East with a breakdown of 5-1 in league title games, 3-0 in league title games at home.
In this year’s regular-season matchup (April 1) at Memorial Field, BU overcame a 4-0 halftime deficit to record a 9-8 victory. The Terriers scored the initial three goals of the second half – in less than five minutes – to pull within one goal and then strung together five consecutive tallies to take an 8-5 lead.
With the visitors leading 9-6 an 10 minutes remaining, UNH trimmed the deficit to 9-8 on goals by Shaunna Kaplan at 8:12 and 2:30. The Terriers held the ball the rest of the way, however, to secure the win.
Kaplan (3g, 1a), Ashley Durepo (2g) and Sarah Von Bargen (2g) led UNH’s attack and Kate Gunts made a career-high 11 saves.
Sarah Dalton spearheaded BU’s comeback with six goals and Rachel Klein stopped 16 shots (eight each half).
UNH recorded the edge in both shots (33-25) and ground balls (18-10), and committed fewer turnovers (16-19). BU won the draw control battle, 10-9, with a 10-4 mark in the second half.
HOW WE GOT HERE
UNH advanced to the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship tournament with a 4-2 league record and advanced out of the semifinals with Thursday’s 17-9 victory against the University at Albany (at Boston University’s Nickerson Field).
The Wildcats surrendered the game’s first goal but responded with four consecutive goals – the last three in a 51-second span – to take a lead they would not relinquish. New Hampshire led 9-6 at halftime, scored the initial three goals of the second half to extend the advantage to 12-6 and the Great Danes did not get closer than four goals (13-9) the rest of the way.
A balanced ‘Cat attack was led by four-point efforts from Ashley Durepo (4g), Shaunna Kaplan (1g, 3a) and Deb Dale (1g, 3a). Michaela Hardy and Sarah Von Bargen each tallied three goals.
Kate Gunts played the first half and was credited with one save. Nikki Hume stopped two shots in the second half.
UNH finished with advantages in shots (30-19), ground balls (14-13) and draw controls (17-11); the Wildcats also committed fewer turnovers (16-18) and fouls (29-16).
EIGHT WILDCATS RECEIVE AMERICA EAST HONORS
Led by a league-high five All-Conference First Team representatives, UNH had eight student-athletes receive America East accolades on Wednesday.
Senior attacker Sarah Von Bargen was selected to the First Team for the third consecutive year, while both senior midfielder Michaela Hardy and sophomore defender Allie Duclos were repeat honorees from last season. They were joined on the First Team by junior attacker Shaunna Kaplan and senior defender Beth Stankus.
A pair of UNH freshmen – Ilana Cohen and Kate Keagins – was voted to the All-Rookie Team.
The All-Academic Team was also named and four Wildcats – Von Bargen, Hardy, Duclos and Ashley Durepo – comprised the 13-member squad.
VON BARGEN, KAPLAN FINISH 2-3 IN FAN VOTING
Senior attacker Sarah Von Bargen and junior attacker Shaunna Kaplan finished second and third, respectively, in the voting for the inaugural America East Women’s Lacrosse Fans’ Choice Player of the Year, the league announced April 24.
The ballot generated nearly 2,300 fan votes, and University at Albany’s Nikki Branchini collected over 19 percent (444 votes) to edge out Von Bargen, who earned 416 votes (18 percent). Kaplan received 273 tallies (12 percent).
The UNH duo combined for 689 votes overall on the 14-player ballot to account for 30% of all voting.
THE PLAYOFF PICTURE IS DEVELOPED
The University of New Hampshire tied for second with the University at Albany in the America East final league standings. Albany, by virtue of its 16-15 overtime win on March 21, is the second seed and UNH is the third seed. The teams squared off in the nightcap of the 2009 America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals on April 30 and the Wildcats advanced with a 17-9 victory.
Boston University went unbeaten in league play to earn the top seed and played the University of Vermont in Thursday’s other semifinal (1 p.m.). The Catamounts, who tied with UMBC for fourth place in the league standings and won the head-to-head tiebreaker, were eliminated by the Terriers, 18-7.
The America East tournament champion advances to the NCAA Tournament.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire secured a berth in the 2009 America East Championship tournament with a 17-4 victory against Vermont on April 18 to extend its league record for consecutive tourney appearances to 12.
UNH is making its seventh appearance – all in the past eight years – in the America East championship game. The Wildcats have a 1-5 record (all against Boston University) in the six previous title game appearances.
The Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game – their longest win streak of the season – by ousting Albany from the 2009 America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship with a 17-9 victory in Thursday’s semifinal game at BU’s Nickerson Field.
UNH won its 10th game of the season with that April 18 victory against Vermont. It is the second consecutive year and fifth time in the last six years that the Wildcats have reached double digits in wins.
In 18 games, UNH has recorded 325 shots in the first half alone. In comparison, the opposition tallied a total of 330 shots (UNH’s total is 610).
In early April, UNH had an 11-day stretch in which it played five games. That gauntlet run spanned April 1-11 and included three games vs. nationally-ranked teams; the ‘Cats lost those games to Boston University, Cornell and Vanderbilt, and they defeated both UMBC and Le Moyne.
New Hampshire alternated wins and losses in an eight-game stretch from March 11 to April 6.
UNH IN THE POSTSEASON
New Hampshire has advanced to the America East championship game seven of the last eight years – 2007 is the only exception in that span from 2002-09. UNH won the league tourney title in 2004.
The Wildcats have a 36-28-1 overall record in the postseason, and that includes an 8-10 mark in the America East tournament. UNH has been victorious in seven of its last eight league semifinal games following Thursday’s 17-9 win against Albany. The ‘Cats have a 1-5 record in America East championship games.
UNH has a 4-12 record, including 1-5 in the America East tournament, in postseason road games. New Hampshire lost on the road to Boston University in two postseason matchups a year ago – 9-8 in overtime in the league championship game and 17-9 in an NCAA first round matchup. The Wildcats’ most recent road win in postseason play was in 2006, when they upended top-seeded UMBC, 12-5, in a league semifinal.
Deb Dale tallied career highs in both assists (three) and points (four) in Thursday’s America East semifinal against Albany; she tallied 5-1-6 in nine regular-season games this year.
Shaunna Kaplan recorded career highs in both assists (five) and points (eight) in the April 25 regular-season finale at Binghamton.
Also in that game, Hayley Rausch tallied a personal-best four points by matching her career high of three goals with one assist.
Ashley Durepo scored a career-high five goals April 18 vs. Vermont.
In 14 games, Allie Duclos has led the team (outright or tied) in ground balls seven times and draw controls nine times. She has led the team in both GB and DC six times, including consecutive league games against Albany and Stony Brook.
Kate Gunts started the season opener in goal but that was her only start through nine games – she made six other appearances in that span. Gunts returned to the starting lineup March 28 against Stony Brook and has now started eight consecutive games. Her streak of consecutive minutes ended at 496 when she exited the regular-season finale at halftime.
Sarah Von Bargen has attained four individual milestones in 2009. She became the 10th UNH Wildcat to record 150 career points with the third of her four goals March 4 vs. Yale and then entered the record book as the fourth UNH player to reach the 200-point milestone with the last of her three goals in the April 30 semifinal game vs. Albany. On March 21, Von Bargen became the fifth UNH Wildcat to score 150 career goals with the first of four at Albany. And in the regular-season finale, she tallied her 100th career draw control.
Michaela Hardy recorded her 100th career point March 21 at Albany with an assist in overtime vs. the Great Danes. She scored her 100th career goal with the first of three April 18 against Vermont.
Shaunna Kaplan reached the 100-point milestone with the first of three points – a first-half goal – March 28 vs. Stony Brook. She became the seventh ‘Cat to reach 50 career assists with the first of three in the April 30 America East semifinal against Albany.
Ashley Durepo attained the 100-point milestone with the second of her two goals April 1 vs. Boston University.
Susie Piotrkowski tallied career point #50 with the second of her four points at Albany on March 21.
Not all century marks pertain to goals or points. Also of note, Kelli LaPerch recorded her 100th career ground ball with the first of her three April 4 at UMBC. Durepo reached that milestone of 100 ground balls April 18 vs. Vermont. Beth Stankus tallied her 50th career caused turnover one against Le Moyne on April 11; she is the Wildcats’ active leader in that stat with 55. Hardy is the other active ‘Cat with 50+ caused turnovers (52) and she turned 50 on April 18 vs. Vermont.