March 31, 2010

KAPLAN, SIMPSON RECORD FOUR POINTS APIECE TO LIFT WOMEN'S LAX PAST YALE, 13-9

ALLIE DUCLOS
SHAUNNA KAPLAN

NEW HAVEN, Conn.Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) and Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.), the reigning America East Rookie of the Week, recorded four points apiece to propel the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Wednesday afternoon's 13-9 victory against Yale University at Reese Stadium.

UNH, winners of three straight in the series vs. Yale and 2-1 against the Ivy League this season, won its second consecutive game to improve to 6-3 overall. Yale is now 4-6.

Kaplan finished with three goals and an assist while Simpson tallied two goals and two assists. Kaplan was also credited with two ground balls, two draw controls and one caused turnover. Allie Bratton (Windermere, Fla.), JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.) and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) each tallied two goals, and Rausch also had an assist. Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) also recorded multiple points with a goal and an assist.

Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) led the defensive effort and was named America East Player of the Game with seven ground balls, four caused turnovers and two draw controls. Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) contributed two ground balls, four caused turnovers and four draw controls; she also tallied a goal and an assist.

UNH starting goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.), who played a total of 52 minutes, 54 seconds, made three saves and surrendered six goals to earn the victory. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) started in relief of O'Keefe at the start of the second half; in 7:06 of action, she allowed three goals and was credited with one save.

Yale was led offensively by Jenna Block (2g, 3a), and goalie Whitney Quackenbush stopped seven shots.

With the score tied 5-5 at halftime, Block netted a free-position goal at 27:21 to give the Bulldogs a 6-5 lead. New Hampshire responded 20 seconds later, however, to pull even at 6. Simpson, behind the left post, found Cohen slashing through the left wing and she fired a shot inside the near post.

Yale regained the lead at 24:29 when Devon Rhodes collected Block's pass on the left wing, cut to the middle of the fan and fired a shot inside the right post.

The Wildcats once again had a quick reply by leveling the score, 7-7, 38 seconds later. Rausch gained possession on the top-right of the fan, curled to the left around a screen and charged down the middle before placing a high shot inside the left post.

The Bulldogs went back in front, 8-7, when Jessica Sturgill scored on a free-position shot at 22:54.

O'Keefe reentered the game at that point and denied Block at the left doorstep with 22 minutes remaining. Four minutes later, O'Keefe stopped Kaitlyn Flatley on a free position to once s again keep the 'Cats within one goal.

UNH scored four consecutive goals to build an 11-8 lead. The Wildcats pulled even, 8-8, on a transition goal at 14:10 when Duclos advanced the ball from the defensive end of the field to Kaplan at midfield. Kaplan raced down the middle and found Simpson low on the left side for the goal.

The 'Cats went back in front, 9-8, at 12:47. Cohen, from the top of the fan, centered the ball to Curro, who was cutting from the left side, and she fired a shot high inside the left post.

Yale won the ensuing draw control, but Keagins caused a turnover and, on a restart, quickly passed the ball to Bratton at the midfield line. Bratton carried the ball down the right wing, circled behind the net to the left post and beat Quackenbush to extend the advantage to 10-8.

The Bulldogs called time out at that point, but Keagins won the battle for the ensuing draw control to give possession to the Wildcats. Quackenbush then made one of her five second-half saves, but her clearing attempt was intercepted by Kaplan.

UNH continued to build on its lead with a goal at 9:23. Keagins, from the top-right of the fan, found Rausch in the middle and she fired a shot into the upper-left corner of the net to make the score 11-8.

Keagins once again won the ensuing draw control and the 'Cats went into a perimeter attack. Quackenbush stoned Simpson at the right doorstep, and then O'Keefe turned aside Flatley's free-position shot with 6:31 to play.

One minute later, Quackenbush once again kept Yale within three goals when she denied Rausch at the left doorstep, and then Logan Green scored on a free position at 4:43 to lift the home team within 11-9.

Keagins caused another turnover and corralled the ground ball to gain possession for New Hampshire with 4:20 on the clock. Simpson then recorded her second assist of the game when Keagins one-timed her pass from behind the left post past Quackenbush to give UNH a 12-9 lead.

Duclos won the ensuing draw control and the 'Cats once again went into a perimeter offense to preserve its three-goal lead. Kaplan then cut from the left wing to the middle and placed a low shot inside the left post at 1:18.

Yale gained possession on the next draw, but Cohen forced a turnover in which O'Keefe gathered the ground ball to secure the win.

UNH finished with a 24-21 shot advantage, including 15-10 in the second half. The Wildcats, who forced 14 turnovers, also had the edge in ground balls (19-18) and draw controls (17-7).

In the first half, UNH built a 5-2 lead. Curro's one-timer off Rausch's pass from behind the net opened the scoring at 24:20. The home team evened the score on Block's first goal of the game at 22:43, and went ahead 2-1 on Sturgill's goal from Block at 21:03.

UNH scored four goals in a span of 2:26 to take a three-goal cushion. Kaplan scored unassisted goals at 19:15 and 18:11 to put the 'Cats back in front, 3-2. Bratton continued the run with an unassisted tally at 17:01. Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.), who finished with three ground balls, one caused turnover and two draw controls, gained control of the ensuing draw control and quickly advanced the ball into the fan to Simpson, who scored from close range at 16:49 to push the score to 5-2.

Yale called time out at that point and did not surrender a goal the rest of the half. Flatley scored at 11:04 and 7:57 to trim the deficit to one goal and Rhodes struck at 6:56 to close the first-half scoring.

New Hampshire returns to action April 3 for its America East conference opener at home against UMBC. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.

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