BURLINGTON, Vt. – Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) recorded five goals and four assists to lift the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 18-10 America East victory against the University of Vermont in both team's regular-season finale at Moulton-Winder Field.
UNH improved to 10-6 overall and 4-2 in America East under first-year head coach Michael Daly. This marks the sixth time in the last seven years that the Wildcats have reached double digits in wins. UVM ends the season at 4-11, 1-5.
Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) was credited with four saves – all in the first half – as well as two caused turnovers and one ground ball. Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) finished with a team-high four ground balls and also tallied three draw controls as well as two caused turnovers.
UVM's offense was led by Kaitlyn Fuller, who garnered the team's America East Player of the Game with three goals, and Alison Haigh (goal, two assists). Laura Barber stopped 15 shots, including 10 in the second half.
UVM took a 1-0 lead at 26:42 when Samantha Stern scored on a shot from the middle of the fan inside the right post.
The Wildcats responded with three goals in a 59-second span to take a 3-1 lead. Keagins ignited the spurt on a drive down the middle of the fan in which she scored on a bounce shot to tie the score, 1-1, at 25:59.
Moments later, a stick check by Kaplan forced a turnover in which she corralled the ground ball to create a 1-on-1 breakaway. She attacked down the middle, hesitated to beat the defender and scored from close range at 25:28 to give the Wildcats their first lead.
Cohen, from the top of the fan, passed the ball low to Curro, who curled from behind the net to the right post and continued across the goal mouth before depositing a shot inside the left post for a 3-1 lead at 25:00.
Stern scored her second goal of the game at 20:23 – this time off a pass from Adison Rounds as she cut down the middle of the fan – to pull the Catamounts within 3-2.
Curro struck 30 seconds later when she one-time Rausch's feed from the left wing under the crossbar to reestablish a two-goal cushion of 4-2.
The home team once again pulled within one goal, 4-3, at 18:18 when Megan MacDonald cut from the left post to the top of the crease and placed a shot inside the right post. MacDonald then won possession off the ensuing draw control and charged towards the goal, but her shot was turned aside by O'Keefe and the ground ball was gathered by Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.).
New Hampshire pushed the lead to 5-3 at 15:58 when Cohen's pass from behind the net found Keagins cutting down the middle and she scored on a high shot.
UVM scored goals 51 seconds apart – at 10:38 and 9:47 – to level the score, 5-5. Fuller, from the left doorstep, scored off a pass from Natalie Jones and Haigh netted a free-position goal from the top-right side.
The Wildcats scored four consecutive goals to build a 9-5 advantage. Bratton created a turnover and collected the ground ball to set up Kaplan's goal at 9:04 in which Rausch fed the ball from the top of the fan to Kaplan just off the left post to give the visiting 'Cats a lead they would not relinquish.
A ground ball by Curro then set up a UNH transition attack in which Keagins scored an unassisted goal on a low, sidearm shot from the right wing at 6:24.
O'Keefe then denied Haigh's high shot from the middle of the fan with five minutes remaining in the first half and Duclos corralled the ground ball. UNH called time out at 2:55 and Bratton, off Cohen's pass from the top of the fan, scored on a high shot at the left doorstep to give the Wildcats an 8-5 lead at 2:02. Rausch scored a free-position goal at 1:05 to extend the advantage to four goals.
UVM's Rounds and Sara Buxton scored in the final 20 seconds of the first half to lift the Catamounts within 9-7 heading into halftime.
New Hampshire scored the initial nine goals of the second half and held the home team scoreless for 28 minutes to break the game open. Curro scored consecutive goals at 27:57 and 23:21 – with assists to Keagins and Kaplan, respectively – and then Keagins netted back-to-back goals at 18:17 (from Rausch) and 14:29 (from Cohen) to give UNH at 13-7 lead.
Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) converted Kaplan's pass into a goal at 11:00, then Bratton, from Dale, and Kaplan, from Keagins, scored 42 seconds apart – at 8:56 and 8:14 -- to push the advantage to 16-7.
Rausch scored off a feed from Kaplan at 6:48 to give the Wildcats a double-digit lead, 17-7, and Dale netted a goal off a pass from Keagins at 3:15.
Vermont scored three goals in the final 1:59 of the game to close the scoring. Fuller's goals at 1:59 and 31 seconds surrounded Devin Markle's tally at 40 seconds.
UNH recorded a 42-22 shot advantage that included a 25-4 second-half margin. The Wildcats also had the edge in ground balls (15-8) and draw controls (16-14), and committed fewer turnovers (11-18).
Kaplan climbed into sixth place on UNH's career points leaderboard with her six-point performance. She now has 106 goals and 78 assists for 184 points.
Keagins recorded her 50th career point with the fourth of her nine points. She has career totals of 41 goals and 14 assists for 55 points.
New Hampshire will begin postseason play at the America East Women's Lacrosse Championship tournament next week. The third-seeded Wildcats will play Boston University (at the University at Albany) in a May 6 (3:30 p.m.) semifinal game. The championship game is May 8 (1 p.m.).