CURRO SCORES SIX GOALS AS WOMEN'S LAX TOPPLES UMBC, 16-8

JoJo CURRO

DURHAM, N.H. -- JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.) scored a career-high six goals – the six points also marked a personal best – to lift the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 16-8 victory against UMBC in America East action at Memorial Field.

UNH, which has won all nine games in this series, won its third consecutive game to improve to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in America East. The Wildcats scored 16 goals against a team that was yielding just 7.48 goals per game, and limited the Retrievers' offense that was averaging 12.79 goals per game to eight. UMBC, which entered the game with a six-game winning streak, is now 8-4, 1-1.

Curro, who scored six goals on seven shots to extend her point-scoring streak to 10 games and goal-scoring streak to five, was named UNH's America East Player of the Game. UMBC's Amanda Pappas tallied one goal and one assist for two points, as well as three draw controls, to receive that honor for the Retrievers.

Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) was one of five other Wildcats who scored two goals, and she also tallied three assists to finish with five points; she also contributed three draw controls and a ground ball. Allie Bratton (Windermere, Fla.), Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.), Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and reigning America East Rookie of the Week Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) also scored twice. Keagins was credited with five ground balls, three caused turnovers and two draw controls. Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) tallied a career-high three assists.

UNH starting goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) made eight saves for the victory. UMBC, which entered the game converting 39 of 88 (44%) free-position shots into goals, went 3-for-10 against O'Keefe. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) played the final 1:42 of the game and did not face a shot on goal.

UMBC goalie Kate Quick was credited with seven saves as well as a team-high three caused turnovers and three ground balls. Alicia Krause (2g, 1a), Ashley Stodter (2g) and Erika Braerman (1g, 1a) also had multiple-point efforts for the Retrievers, while Lauren Mundell tallied a team-high four ground balls.

The Wildcats led 9-5 at halftime and scored three goals in a span of 4:39 early in the second half as part of a six-goal spurt to break the game open. In a transition attack, Bratton's shot from the right wing caromed off the far post but Curro caught the rebound and shot the ball into the open net to give the 'Cats a 10-5 advantage at 27:56.

UNH then scored goals eight seconds apart – at 23:25 and 23:17 – to advance the score to 12-5. Kaplan momentarily lost possession behind the goal and found Casiano cutting down the middle. Casiano one-timed a shot into the net before Quick, who had attempted to gain possession of the loose ball, could get back into position. It marked Casiano's first career goal. The ensuing draw control was directed towards UMBC's goal and caught by Erin Levesque (Duxbury, Mass.). She raced down the middle and quickly moved the ball low on the left side, where Kaplan scored from close range. The assist marked Levesque's first career point.

Casiano struck again at 16:21 – this time on an angled drive through the left wing – to give New Hampshire a 13-5 lead. Simpson converted a pass from Cohen into a goal at 7:42 to extend the cushion to 14-5.

Stodter scored a free-position goal on a low shot from the top-left of the fan at 6:55 to stop UNH's run of six consecutive goals and trim the deficit to 14-6. The Retrievers scored goals nine seconds apart – at 1:51 and 1:42 – to close within 14-8. Krause scored on a free-position shot deep on the left side inside the near post. Off the ensuing draw control, Krause's pass from the middle of the circle went low on the right side to Meagan Linkous, who scored from point-blank range.

UNH called time out and Bratton gained control of the draw control. She raced down the right side and rifled a high shot into the goal at 1:33 to make the score 15-8. Keagins, off Kaplan's feed from behind the net, scored with one second remaining to close the scoring.

New Hampshire finished with the slight edge in both shots (29-25) and ground balls (15-14), while UMBC led by the smallest of margins, 13-12, in draw controls. The Retrievers were charged with 22 turnovers in comparison to UNH's 19.

The Wildcats scored the initial two goals of the game 26 seconds apart and the visitors never pulled even again. Curro opened the scoring with an unassisted goal deep on the right side of the fan at 28:21. Keagins then caused a turnover at midfield with a stick check, collected the ground ball, raced down the middle of the field and, from the middle of the fan, placed a high shot inside the right post at 27:55.

The teams then exchanged a total of five goal in a four-minute span. UMBC closed within 2-1 at 21:07 when Amanda Gable scored a free-position goal from the top-left of the fan. Simpson reestablished a two-goal lead, 3-1, at 20:27 when she curled from behind the net to the right post and scored on a high shot. Braerman, behind the right post, hit Stodter cutting down the right side and she scored on a high shot to once again make it a one-goal game, 3-2, at 19:45. Curro's second goal of the game, this time on a free position from the top of the fan, gave the 'Cats a two-goal lead but Krause responded with an unassisted tally at 17:00.

New Hampshire scored the next three goals to build a 7-3 lead. Kaplan, on the top-left of the fan, centered a pass to Curro and she beat Quick for a goal at 12:36. Bratton, on a right-wing drive, and Curro – with Cohen's assistance – then scored at 10:30 and 8:03, respectively, to create the four-goal differential.

Pappas scored 14 seconds later on a shot from the top-right of the fan to lift UMBC within 7-4, but Curro – once again with the assistance of Cohen – struck at 5:12 for an 8-4 Wildcat lead. Pappas, from the top-left of the fan, fed a pass down low and Braerman redirected the high ball into the net at 3:05. After a battle for the ensuing draw control, Kaplan gained possession and attacked down the left side. She then cut underneath a pair of retreating Retrievers to the middle of the fan and scored on a high shot to close the first-half scoring, 9-5, at 2:55.

Kaplan, with the three assists Saturday, moved into a tie for third place on UNH's career assist list with Liz Brickley at 67. Kaplan is also eighth on the career points leaderboard at 162.

New Hampshire returns to action April 7 (4 p.m.) at Boston University. The Wildcats' next home game is April 17 vs. Binghamton University. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.

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