March 12, 2011

Cohen's Career-High Five Points Helps Women's Lax Outlast Fairfield, 12-8

KATE KEAGINS
ILANA COHEN

FAIRFIELD, Conn.Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) recorded a game-high six points and Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) tallied a career-high five points to propel the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 12-8 victory against Fairfield University at Alumni Field.

UNH won its second consecutive game -- both on the road -- to improve to 3-1 on the road and 3-2 overall. Fairfield is now 4-2.

Keagins finished with three goals and three assists for a season-high six points, and she was also credited with three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Cohen recorded two goals and three assists as well as three GB, one CTO and one draw control.

Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.; four goals) and Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.; one goal, one assist) also finished with multiple points. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.), in her first start of the season, made six saves and was credited with a team-high five ground balls.

Fairfield goalie Katie Keenan also stopped six shots while Chloe Mangan (3g, 1a) and Melanie Raso (3g) led the attack.

The Stags quickly took a 1-0 lead when Mangan scored a free-position goal 54 seconds into the game. Jenna Slowey extended the advantage to 2-0 when she converted a Katie Mackay pass into a goal at 25:59.

UNH responded with back-to-back goals to level the score, 2-2. Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.), who recorded four ground balls and three caused turnovers, scored an unassisted goal on the Wildcats' second shot of the game at 18:21. Keagins then finished Cohen's feed at 16:23 to tie the score.

Fairfield regained the lead, 3-2, when Mangan netted her second free-position goal of the half – this time into an open net – at 14:08.

Gunts kept the 'Cats within one goal when she denied Brittany Bare at 13:32 and Slowey at 11:37, then Simpson struck at 11:16 to forge the second tie of the game at 3-3.

Raso, with Mangan's assistance, once again put the home team in front, 4-3, at 10:14.

UNH closed the half on a 3-0 run, however, to take a 6-4 lead into halftime. Keagins, who assisted on Simpson's first goal, set up goals by Simpson (at 8:15) and Casiano at 7:05 to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game and it was a lead they would not relinquish.

Gunts then turned aside Amanda Best at 6:09 and Mangan at 5:19 to preserve New Hampshire's one-goal lead and Keagins capped the first-half scoring with an unassisted goal with 42 seconds on the clock.

Just as it had done in the first half, Fairfield controlled the opening draw of the second half and converted that possession into a goal – this time by Raso – at 29:12 to pull within 6-5.

Keagins' third goal of the game reestablished a two-goal margin of 7-5 at 22:48 and Meghan Bridges (Sandy Hook, Conn.) recorded her first career point with a goal that was set up by Cohen at 16:05.

Fairfield called a timeout and responded with goals 47 seconds apart by Addie Reilly (at 14:55) and  Raso (14:08) to trim the deficit to 8-7.

UNH, which had lost 13 of the initial 16 draw controls of the game, then gained possession through Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.), who finished with three draw controls and three caused turnovers. Simpson potted her third goal of the game at 13:09 to give the 'Cats a 9-7 advantage.

The Stags once again pulled within one goal, 9-8, at 9:57 when Mangan scored her third free-position goal of the game.

Stager gained possession on the ensuing draw control and, after Duclos' free-position shot went wide of the cage, a Simpson ground ball led to her own goal – set up by Cohen – at 7:00.

Duclos controlled the following draw and that possession led to Casiano setting up Cohen at 5:54 to give UNH an 11-8 lead.

Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) kept momentum in the Wildcats' favor by winning the ensuing draw control. Cohen then struck for the third time in the game and just 32 seconds after her previous goal to extend the advantage to 12-8.

UNH's defense limited Fairfield to just one shot the rest of the way – Reilly's free-position shot wide of the net at 4:39 – to secure the victory.

The Wildcats recorded a 14-6 shot advantage in the second half to finish with a 22-18 edge overall. The 'Cats also had the edge in ground balls (22-18) and committed fewer turnovers (18-24). Fairfield had the overall advantage in draw controls, 15-7, despite UNH's slight 6-5 second-half edge.

Keagins extended her point-scoring streak to 13 games and Cohen is the only 'Cat who has recorded multiple points all five games this season.

New Hampshire returns to action March 14 at home against George Mason University. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.

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