HANOVER, N.H. – Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) matched her career high of three goals but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 9-4 by 14th-ranked Dartmouth College in non-conference action at Scully-Fahey Field.
UNH, which opened the season Feb. 23 with an 8-5 victory at Holy Cross, is now 1-1. This was Dartmouth's season opener.
Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) also had a multiple-point game for the Wildcats with a goal and an assist. Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) made seven saves while Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) finished with three caused turnovers and a game-high seven ground balls.
The Big Green was led offensively by Greta Meyer (two goals, two assists). Kristen Giavanniello, in her collegiate debut, stopped seven shots.
Dartmouth quickly established a 2-0 lead with goals 12 seconds apart by Kristen Goldberg (2g) at 27:56 and Hilary Smith at 27:42. The home team extended that advantage to three goals when Meyer rolled behind the net to the right post and placed a shot high shortside into the net at 21:39.
With 17:30 on the clock, UNH's Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) corralled a ground ball at the restraining line in the offensive zone and attacked down the center of the fan, but her low shot from pointblank range was stopped by Giaveanniello.
Sarah Plumb (1g, 1a) pushed the lead to 4-0 with an unassisted goal at 15:34.
Cohen's first goal of the game pulled the 'Cats within 4-1 at 11:46 when she caught a pass from JoJo Curro (Souhegan, N.H.) at the top-left corner of the fan, drove towards the near post and scored on a high shot.
With 2:30 remaining in the first half, Goldberg turned and fired a shot from the middle of the fan but it was blocked down by Cara Dowdle (Northbrook, Ill.) and the ground ball was scooped up by Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.).
The Big Green regained possession, however, and Goldberg converted a Sarah Parks pass into a goal and 5-1 lead at 1:12. Dartmouth threatened again in the closing minute, but O'Keefe denied Kat Collins' close-range shot.
DC took that four-goal advantage and an 11-7 edge in shots into halftime.
Collins once again was denied by O'Keefe in front of the cage, but scored off her own rebound to give Dartmouth a 6-1 lead at 27:19.
New Hampshire scored the next three goals to close within 6-4. The duo of Keagins and Cohen ignited the comeback as Keagins, on the left wing, advanced the ball low to Cohen and she fired a high shot past Giovanniello at 25:54.
Cohen scored her third goal of the game – fifth of the season – at 24:09 when she drove diagonally through the left side of the fan and scored on a low shot to pull the 'Cats within 6-3.
Methodical possessions by New Hampshire resulted in shots on goal by Keagins (at 23:00) and Simpson (at 17:00), but Giovanniello made both stops to keep the differential at three goals. A ground ball by Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.; three ground balls; two draw controls; two caused turnovers) led to Rausch's goal at 15:05. Rausch pivoted left and then back to the right before bouncing a shot 10 feet in front of the cage that went into the upper-right corner.
Keagins forced a turnover and collected a ground ball with 14 minutes to play and that set up a shot by Rausch at the right post that went wide of the far post. Keagins picked up that loose ball, circled behind the net and was denied at the right post by Giovanniello.
The Big Green then went on the attack and took a 7-4 lead at 11:15. Plumb's entry pass from the top of the fan was knocked to the turf by Keagins, but Meyers was alone in front to grab the loose ball and score.
One minute later, Plumb's free-position shot from the left wing was stopped by O'Keefe and Stager gained possession for the 'Cats. UNH lost possession, however, but another Keagins' caused turnover and ground ball put New Hampshire back on the attack with 8:10 on the clock.
Dartmouth immediately regained control of the ball but O'Keefe kept the score 7-4 when she denied Meyer. At the other end of the field, Cohen was turned aside with six minutes to play.
Erin Massimi converted Meyer's pass into a goal at 5:03 – just moments after O'Keefe had denied Parks – to extend the Big Green's lead to 8-4.
UNH called time out at that point. DC won the ensuing draw control but lost possession on an errant pass with 4:45 remaining. The Wildcats patiently set up for a shot, but turned the ball over at 3:45. With O'Keefe out of the net to pressure the ball, Collins scored at 3:00 to push the advantage to 9 -4.
Stager controlled the following draw, but UNH lost possession 30 seconds later. Another Keagins' ground ball gave the ball back to the 'Cats with two minutes to play, but once again the visitors did not record a shot before Dartmouth regained possession with 1:11 left.
A Keagins' stick check forced another DC turnover in UNH's attacking zone. Rausch gathered the ground ball at the top of the fan and immediately sent a pass down low to Simpson, who scored on a high shot with 42 seconds remaining to close the scoring at 9-5.
New Hampshire returns to action March 2 for its home opener against the University of Massachusetts. Game time at Memorial Field is 4 p.m.