The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team plays two games in a three-day span when the Wildcats travel to play Fairfield University on Saturday, March 12 (1 p.m.) and then play host to George Mason University on Monday, March 14 (12 p.m.).
UNH has a 3-0 lifetime record, including last year's 14-10 home win, against Fairfield. Prior to 2010, the teams played a home-and-home series in consecutive years with the Wildcats prevailing 18-2 on the road in 2004 and 21-5 at home in 2005.
In last year's game, UNH scored the first six goals of the game en route to building a 7-3 halftime lead. The Stags opened the second half with two consecutive goals and a 4-1 run overall to pull within 8-7. The 'Cats responded with two straight goals, but Fairfield matched that to once again trim the deficit to one goal (10-9). UNH led by one goal, 11-10, with nine minutes on the clock and scored at 3:38, 2:07 and 55 seconds to secure the victory. The Stags finished with a 29-22 shot advantage (17-9 in the second half) and 15-10 edge in draw controls; the 'Cats had a 20-18 advantage in ground balls.
Monday's matchup will be the first ever between UNH and George Mason.
The State of New Hampshire
New Hampshire plays four games in six days beginning Saturday at Fairfield. The Wildcats then play host to George Mason (Monday), at Vanderbilt (Wednesday) and against Presbyterian College (Friday in Atlanta, Ga.).
UNH doubled its goal output for the season with a 17-12 win at Colgate last Saturday; the Wildcats had scored 17 games in the first three games combined.
The 'Cats also more than doubled their season total in draw controls. Through three games, they had tallied a total of 12 DC but then recorded 16 draw controls at Colgate.
New Hampshire yielded 20 first-half shots (28 overall) to Colgate on March 5. In comparison, UMass finished with 19 shots, Dartmouth had 20 and Holy Cross 21.
UNH has been a level-playing team this season. At least a glance at the stats would make you believe that. The Wildcats half-by-half splits include identical numbers in both goals (17) and shots (42) in both the first and second halves as well as 10 saves each half.
Amber Casiano established career highs in both assists (two) and points (five) at Colgate. The three goals matched a personal best.
Hayley Rausch matched her career highs in both goals (four) and points (five) against the Raiders last Saturday to extend her point-scoring streak to 22 games. She has scored at least one goal all four games this season.
Ilana Cohen matched her personal bests in both goals (three) and points (four) at CU; the first of her four points was the 50th of her career. Cohen is the only Wildcat with multiple points every game in 2011.
Kate Keagins extended her point-scoring streak to 12 games with a three-point effort (1g, 2a) at Colgate. In addition to leading this year's team in assists, she is atop the UNH leaderboard in both ground balls and caused turnovers.
Jenny Simpson matched her career high of two assists at Colgate. She also netted two goals in that game and the four points marked her first multiple-point effort of the season. She has scored a goal in three of four games.
Chelsea Cyester recorded her first collegiate point with a first-half goal at Colgate that gave UNH a 4-3 lead.
What Just Happened
UNH traveled to Hamilton, N.Y. and returned home with a 17-12 victory against Colgate University on March 5. The Wildcats trailed 8-4 in the first half but rallied to take a 9-8 lead into halftime; with the score tied 10-10, UNH scored three consecutive goals as part of a 6-1 run to take control of the game.
After being outshot 20-16 in the first half, UNH tallied a 15-8 second-half shot advantage. The 'Cats also finished with the edge in ground balls (9-8) and draw controls (16-15). Six Wildcats finished with multiple points.
New Hampshire entered this week's action ranked sixth nationally in caused turnovers as well as #29 in defense and #33 in ground balls. Kate Keagins is #5 in caused turnovers and #13 in ground balls, Kathleen O'Keefe is 26th in GAA and Ally Stager is 36th in caused turnovers.
Fairfield is 27th in offense, 21st in defense and 23rd in caused turnovers.
New Hampshire leads America East in caused turnovers per game (11.50), is second in goals against average (9.25) and third in ground balls (17.50).
Kate Keagins leads the league in caused turnovers (2.50 per game) and is second in ground balls (4.00 per game). Ally Stager ranks third in CTO while Ilana Cohen is 10th in both goals per game and points per game.
And Then There Was One
Allie Duclos, a three-time America East All-Conference First Team selection, is the only senior and is one of three captains (alongside juniors Ilana Cohen and Hayley Rausch) on the 2011 squad. A year ago, Duclos led the team in ground balls and draw controls; she also ranked second in caused turnovers as well as third in shooting percentage.
Through four games this season, Duclos is atop the UNH leaderboard in draw controls. She is also tied for third in caused turnovers. Duclos has contributed two points with a goal in the season opener at Holy Cross and another tally March 5 at Colgate.
Take a Free Shot
UNH scored on three of four free-position shots in the Feb. 23 season opener at Holy Cross and that included a perfect 3-for-3 in the first half. The 'Cats scored on 2 of 4 opportunities last Saturday at Colgate to move the season total to 5-for-10 Last year, the Wildcats scored on 26 of 58 free-position shots (27.6% scoring percentage).
Opponents have scored on 5 of 18 (27.8%) free-position shots this season, and that includes 0-for-3 by Dartmouth and 1 of 6 by Colgate. In 2010, the opposition finished 39-for-89 (43.8%).
Leaders of the 'Cat Pack
Junior midfielders Ilana Cohen and Hayley Rausch captain the 2011 Wildcats (with senior midfielder Allie Duclos) and are the team's top two point producers and are the only two 'Cats who have scored a goal in all four games.
Cohen is a third-year starter who garnered America East All-Conference Second Team honors a year ago. She leads this year's team in goals (nine) and points (11); she is also among the team leaders in caused turnovers (third) and ground balls (fifth). Cohen has matched her personal best of three goals each of the past two Saturdays – March 5 at Colgate and Feb. 26 at 14th-ranked Dartmouth. She also tallied an assist last Saturday to equal her career high of four points.
Cohen has scored a goal all four games and has tallied multiple points every game.
Rausch, despite missing four games a year ago, ranked third on the team in both goals and points as well as fourth in assists. Through four games in 2011, she ranks second in goals (seven), assists (two) and points (nine); she also ranks second in shots (16).
Rausch scored a goal in this year's season opener at Holy Cross, tallied two points (1g, 1a) at Dartmouth, netted a goal vs. 19th-ranked UMass and matched her career highs in both goals (four) and points (five) to extend her point-scoring streak to 22 games (dating back to her freshman season of '09).
New Hampshire tallied a 19-14 edge in ground balls, including 10-6 in the second half, vs. Holy Cross in the season opener. The Wildcats finished with 27 GBs at 14th-ranked Dartmouth – it marked the highest total by a UNH team since April 11, 2009, when the 'Cats had 27 ground balls vs. Le Moyne – then tallied a 15-7 edge vs. 19th-ranked UMass.
UNH tallied the edge in ground balls for the third time in four games with a 9-8 edge March 5 at Colgate.
What's Ours is Ours & What's Yours is Ours
The Wildcats have committed fewer turnovers than the opponent all four games of the 2011 season (66-93 overall). Most recently (last Saturday), Colgate turned the ball over 23 times in comparison to UNH's 14.
In the opener, UNH committed fewer turnovers than Holy Cross by a margin of 15-18. New Hampshire also committed fewer turnovers than Dartmouth (25-26) and UMass (12-26).
In 2010, UNH committed more turnovers than the opponent just five times in 17 games.
Scouting the Stags
Fairfield University (Fairfield, Conn.) plays host to Sacred Heart on Wednesday afternoon before battling UNH on Saturday. The Stags enter the week with a 3-1 overall record following a 13-10 road loss to 10th-ranked James Madison.
Three players have reached double digits in points. Katie Mackay leads all scorers with 16 points; she has a team-high seven assists (the team has a total of 16 assists) and is tied for second in goals. Amanda Best is second in points (9g, 3a). Chloe Mangan has a team-best 10 goals and 11 points overall.
Katie Keenan has started all four games in goal and played all but 9:33 of a possible 240 minutes. She has a 7.81 GAA and .524 save percentage to rank ninth nationally in save percentage and 12th in GAA.
UNH and Fairfield have played one common opponent this season. UNH was an 8-5 victor at Holy Cross in late February. More recently, the Stags played host to the Crusaders and prevailed 14-5.
Scouting the Patriots
George Mason University (Fairfax, Va.) enters the weekend with a 1-4 overall record following Tuesday afternoon's 21-3 loss at top-ranked Maryland. The Patriots play at Boston University on Saturday before traveling to Durham to play UNH on Monday.
Mason is lead offensively by Emily Ellisen (9g, 2a), Madalyn Jamison (6g, 2a), Chelsea Gamble (5g, 3a), Anna Kopecka (7g) and Caitlin Formato (6g, 1a).
Brittany Pastrana has started all five games in goal and played all but 6:37 of a possible 300 minutes. She has a 16.36 GAA and .403 save percentage.
The Patriots have been outscored 83-42 overall and that includes 56-18 in the first half (17-0 at Maryland).
No Common Ground
New Hampshire and George Mason do not share a common opponent.