The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team battles 10th-ranked University at Albany on Saturday, April 9 at UAlbany's John Fallon Field. Game time is 1 p.m.
UNH has an 11-2 lifetime record against Albany but the Great Danes have won two of the last three games, including two consecutive regular-season meetings. Last year, UAlbany prevailed 13-12 in Durham; the last time these teams squared off in Albany, the Great Danes won 16-15 in overtime.
New Hampshire won the initial 10 meetings in this series, which began in the '01 season. The 'Cats have a 4-1 road record.
The State of New Hampshire
New Hampshire has five regular-season games remaining, and Saturday's game at Albany is one of two on the road as well as one of four remaining America East conference games.
The Wildcats climbed above .500 Wednesday with a 13-12 double overtime victory against league rival Boston University at UNH's Memorial Field. The 'Cats recorded a season-low six ground balls, but also committed the second-lowest turnover total (11) in that game vs. the Terriers.
UNH has not allowed more than 12 goals in any game.
The April 6 game vs. Boston University marked UNH's first overtime game of the 2011 season. Last year, the Wildcats were 0-1 in OT games (2 OT loss to Harvard). New Hampshire had also lost its previous overtime game (March 2009 at Albany) but also had an OT win that season (at Harvard).
The game vs. BU also marked the first time this season that UNH trailed at halftime but went on to victory; the 'Cats are now 1-4 when trailing at the half, as well as 5-1 when leading through 30 minutes.
The turnover battle had not ended in a tie until both New Hampshire and Boston University finished with 11.
Brittany Conner has emerged as an impact player the second half of the season. In just her second career start, she recorded two caused turnovers at Harvard (April 1). Conner also started the next game vs. Boston University and corralled three draw controls.
Kate Keagins extended her point-scoring streak to 19 games by tallying four points against BU.
Ilana Cohen is the only other Wildcat with a double-digit point-scoring streak. She has a point all 10 games in which she has played this season for an overall point streak of 12 games.
JoJo Curro has recorded an assist each of the last seven games.
Amber Casiano's seven-game point-scoring streak ended Wednesday against BU, but she contributed four draw controls, one ground ball and one caused turnover.
Casey Doyle, Allie Duclos, Jenny Simpson and are the only three 'Cats who have started all 11 games this season.
What Just Happened
UNH overcame a four-goal first-half deficit and prevailed 13-12 in double overtime against Boston University at Memorial Field on Wednesday, April 6.
Hayley Rausch scored four second-half goals to propel the comeback, then scored with 38 seconds remaining in the second OT session to end the game – with career highs in both goals (five) and points (six). Kathleen O'Keefe, who entered the game with 1:58 remaining in the first half and UNH trailing 8-5, made five saves, including two in OT, to earn the win.
New Hampshire had lost 13 consecutive games to the Terriers dating back to a win in the 2004 America East championship game.
UNH closes the month of April with a three-game homestand that begins April 16 against Stony Brook University. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.
Here is a comparison of how New Hampshire stacks up against the University at Albany (through April 3; 92 teams):
Offense 61 (9.70) 22 (13.11)
Defense 15 (8.60) 1 (6.11)
CTO 4 (11.0) 48 (7.67)
GB 29 (17.6) 61 (15.11)
DC 90 (8.8) 35 (12.44)
Three Wildcats are among the top 25. Kate Keagins is fifth in caused turnovers as well as 22nd in ground balls, while Allie Duclos is 19th in caused turnovers and Kathleen O'Keefe is 22nd in goals-against-average.
New Hampshire enters the weekend atop the America East rankings in caused turnovers (10.73 per game) and second in both ground balls (16.45) and defense by yielding 8.80 goals per game.
Kate Keagins sits atop the league leaderboard in both caused turnovers and ground balls; she is also fourth in shots and eighth in assists per game.
Two other Wildcats are among the top five in caused turnovers with Allie Duclos at #3 and Ally Stager at #5, while JoJo Curro is 10th in assists. Duclos is also third in ground balls. Kate Gunts is fourth in GAA and save percentage while Kathleen O'Keefe is fifth in GAA.
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 11 games this season, Duclos ranks second in both ground balls (25) and caused turnovers (19) as well as tied for second in draw controls (15). In three games spanning March 14-18, she tallied four goals, 12 GB, eight CTO and five DC; Duclos filled the stat line at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt with one goal, five GB, four CTO and two DC.
Duclos has also been a consistent point contributor with a goal in 8 of 11 games, including five consecutive games from March 5-18; she matched her career high of two goals March 18 vs. Presbyterian College.
Duclos recorded the team high in ground balls four times (Holy Cross, George Mason, Vandy and UMBC). She has also been the leader in caused turnovers three times (Colgate, Fairfield and Vandy) and was the leader in draw controls vs. UMass.
April 1 at Harvard, Duclos had 1's across the board with one goal, one assist, one shot, one ground ball, one draw control and one caused turnover.
Home Field Advantage
New Hampshire had a 6-2 record at Memorial Field last year, went 6-3 at home in 2009 and 7-1 in '08. That's a three-year winning percentage of .760.
The Wildcats have won two straight at Memorial Field for a 2-1 home record in '11. Most recently, the 'Cats ended a 13-game losing streak to Boston University with a 13-12 double-overtime victory on April 6.
Home vs. Away
Here is a home vs. away breakdown for the Wildcats (per game average):
Home (3 games) Away (7 games)
Offense 9.33 8.86
Defense 10.33 9.00
Shots 27.0 19.1
GB 11.0 17.3
DC 10.3 8.4
CTO 10.7 9.9
Win vs. Loss
Here is UNH's statistical comparison in games won vs. games lost (per game average):
Wins (6) Losses (5)
Offense 13.50 5.80
Defense 8.17 9.80
Shots 27.7 17.4
GB 15.8 17.2
DC 11.2 7.4
CTO 11.2 10.2
Leaders of the 'Cat Pack
Junior midfielder Ilana Cohen and classmate Hayley Rausch, an attacker, captain the 2011 Wildcats (with senior midfielder Allie Duclos) and are two of the team's top point producers.
Cohen is a third-year starter who garnered America East All-Conference Second Team honors a year ago. Despite missing one game and seeing limited action in another, she ranks second on this year's team in points (24) and third in both goals (16) and assists (8); she has a team-high .682 shooting percentage. The 16 goals are already a personal single-season high.
Cohen opened the 2011 season with a goal in eight consecutive games, and has tallied a point all 10 games in which she has played this season to extend her point-scoring streak to 12 games; her streak of six consecutive multiple-point games ended March 18 with one point (1g) vs. Presbyterian College. She responded with another two-goal performance March 26 at UMBC and recorded her eighth multiple-point effort of the season vs. Boston University (1g, 1a on April 6).
Cohen matched her personal best of three goals at 19th-ranked Dartmouth (Feb. 26) and at Colgate (March 5). She tallied career highs in both assists (three) and points (five) at Fairfield (March 12).
Rausch, despite missing four games a year ago, ranked third on the team in both goals and points as well as fourth in assists. She ranks second on the 2011 squad in goals (17) as well as third in points (22) and fifth in assists (5).
She tallied career highs in both goals (five) and points (six) to lead UNH to a 13-12 double overtime victory against Boston University (April 6); she scored four second-half goals and then ended the game with a goal at 38 seconds of the second extra session. Rausch matched her previous career highs in both goals (four) and points (five) March 5 at Colgate. She also had a multiple-point game (1g, 1a) at 19th-ranked Dartmouth.
Rausch tallied a point each of her first five games of the season to extend her point-scoring streak to 23 games. She was held without a goal or assist, however, March 16 at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt. Since that game, Rausch tallied one goal vs. Presbyterian, four points (2g, 2a) at UMBC, a goal at Harvard and six points vs. BU.
What's Ours Is Ours & What's Yours Is Ours
The Wildcats have committed fewer turnovers than the opponent in eight of 11 games of the 2011 season (172-220 overall). UNH recorded the turnover advantage each of the first six games before losing that battle March 16 at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt (24-18). UNH was also charged with more turnovers at UMBC (15-14).
New Hampshire's largest turnover margin is +14 (12-26 vs. UMass), followed by +12 (16-28 vs. Presbyterian).
In 2010, UNH committed more turnovers than the opponent just five times in 17 games.
Junior midfielder Kate Keagins leads the team in goals (18), assists (11), points (29) and shots (57). But she is more than just a point producer for the Wildcats. Keagins also leads the team in both caused turnovers (26) and ground balls (29), and she ranks fourth in draw controls (11).
Keagins has led the team in caused turnovers six of 11 games this season, and that includes four vs. Boston U. (April 6). She has also been the team leader in ground balls three times. Her season highlights include seven GB and three CTO at nationally-ranked Dartmouth College as well as six GB and six CTO vs. Presbyterian.
Keagins has recorded a point all 11 games with eight multiple-point efforts (including six consecutive games spanning March 5-26) to extend her point-scoring streak to 19 games. She has tallied a season-high three goals three times (Holy Cross, Fairfield, Presbyterian); she also recorded a season-best three assists at Fairfield for a season high of six points. Most recently, Keagins finished with two goals and two assists against BU.
New Hampshire has recorded more ground balls than the opposition in 6 of 11 games, but the opposition has had the advantage in that statistic four of the last five games.
The Wildcats finished with 27 GBs at 14th-ranked Dartmouth – it marked the highest total by a UNH team since April 11, 2009, and duplicated that total March 18 against Presbyterian College. UNH also finished with 20+ ground balls vs. Fairfield (22) and Vanderbilt (21).
Winter temperatures lingered the latter part of March into April in New England, but junior attack JoJo Curro heated up during that time and has recorded an assist in seven consecutive games. She matched her career high of three assists and also tallied a goal for a season-best four points March 18 against Presbyterian, and she tallied her second three-point game of the season with two goals and an assist against Boston U. (April 6). Curro has 15 points on six goals and nine assists during her current seven-game assist streak.
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 at Colgate and the season total stands at 10-for-30 (33.3%). Last year, the Wildcats scored on 26 of 58 free-position shots (27.6% scoring percentage).
Opponents have scored on 24 of 54 (44.4%) free-position shots this season, and that includes 0-for-3 by Dartmouth and 1 of 6 by Colgate; at the other end of the spectrum, UMBC converted 4 of 6 free position shots into a goal. In 2010, the opposition finished 39-for-89 (43.8%).
UNH has scored more free-position goals that the opposition two times in 11 games (Presbyterian, 3-2; and Colgate, 2-1). The Wildcats have attempted more free-position shots just one time – vs. Presbyterian. In fact, the 'Cats have not attempted a free-position shot in two games (Dartmouth and Harvard).
Know Your Role
Junior defender Erin Levesque may not compile impressive statistics (nine GB, four CTO and four DC), but she has started 10 of 11 games in 2011 and is a solid foundation of a defensive unit that is ranked #15 in the nation. Levesque was credited with two ground balls and one caused turnover in the Wildcats' America East opener, March 26 at UMBC. She had one draw control and one CTO April 6 vs. Boston U.
Making the Most of the Opportunity
Junior goalkeeper Kate Gunts has started each of the last two games (April 1 & 6) with five games played and four starts overall in 11 games. Gunts has a 2-0 record with an 8.61 GAA and .383 save percentage. She made a season-high eight saves and surrendered just four goals in the March 18 victory against Presbyterian College. Gunts received the starting nod at Harvard (April 1) but was not credited with a save before exiting the game with the score tied 6-6 through 37 minutes. She left Wednesday's game vs. Boston University with UNH trailing 8-5 with 1:58 left in the first half.
Rookies No More
The sophomore class comprises nearly one-third of the roster and four of those seven players – Amber Casiano, Kathleen O'Keefe, Jenny Simpson and Ally Stager – were named to the 2010 America East All-Rookie Team.
Casiano ranked second among last year's UNH rookies in both goals (10) and points (12) and the midfielder, who was in the starting lineup 12 times as a rookie, has started 10 of 11 games this season; she ranks fourth on the team in both assists (7) and points (21) as well as fifth in goals (14).
Casiano established a career-high five points March 5 at Colgate by matching her personal best of three goals and tallying her first multiple-assist effort, then bested that with four goals and two assists for six points against Presbyterian College (March 18). Casiano's seven-game goal-scoring streak ended April 6 at Boston U.; she tallied multiple points six times with totals of 21 points (14g, 7a) during that seven-game goal streak.
O'Keefe emerged as the starting goalie in the latter half of the 2010 season. She played in 12 games (10 starts) and went 5-6 with an 11.08 GAA and .408 save percentage. O'Keefe proved to be the top goalie midway through the 2011 season, and she has started seven of the 11 games (nine games played overall). Her numbers include a 4-5 record, 8.88 GAA and .389 save percentage. O'Keefe entered Wednesday's game vs. BU with UNH trailing 8-5 with 1:58 remaining in the first half; she played the last 40:20 of the game and made five saves, including two in overtime, to backbone UNH's 13-12 victory in double overtime.
Simpson was the top point producer of last year's freshman class as she finished with 25 points on 18 goals and seven assists. She tallied a point in 11 of 15 games and that included a nine-game point-scoring streak. Simpson has carried that consistency into 2011 – she has scored a goal in 8 of 11 games with five multiple-goal efforts, including the most recent game Wednesday vs. BU. She ranks fourth on the team in goals (15) and fifth in points (18), as well as third in shots (35).
Simpson recorded her first multiple-point game of 2011 with four (2g, 2a) March 5 at Colgate; the two assists matched her career high. She followed that with a four-goal effort at Fairfield (March 12). Simpson scored two goals in consecutive games against Vanderbilt and Presbyterian.
Stager was the only freshman to play in all 17 games a year ago and she ranked third on the team in draw controls. She recorded a ground ball in 11 of 17 games with six multiple-GB efforts and also tallied a draw control in 11 of 17 games. Stager has continued to factor into the possession game by ranking second on the team in draw controls as well as third in both ground balls and caused turnovers. She tallied personal bests in both goals (two) and points (three) March 5 at Colgate and also had a multiple-goal game vs. George Mason (March 14). Stager has led the team in ground balls three times (Holy Cross, George Mason, UMBC), draw controls twice (Dartmouth, Fairfield) and caused turnovers twice (Holy Cross, George Mason).
Doyle played in 16 of 17 games a year ago and was in the starting lineup 15 times. She made an immediate impact on defense and has continued to grow as a vital part of the defensive unit this season. She has started all 11 games and ranks fourth in both ground balls and caused turnovers. In three games spanning March 14-18, Doyle tallied seven GB and five CTO as well as one draw control.
Cyester saw limited action (six games; one start) in 2010. She did not see game action in the opening week of the '11 season, but then played seven consecutive games – including two starts – until the Harvard game on April 1. Cyester recorded her first collegiate point with a goal at Colgate (March 5), scored a goal at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt (March 16) and, in the next game, she recorded her first multiple-point effort (1g, 1a) against Presbyterian.
Kleinendorst joined the team as a walk-on following the conclusion of the 2010 UNH women's ice hockey season. She played in four games and once again joined the lax squad following the 2011 hockey season; she was in uniform for the first time March 12 at Fairfield but has not seen game action.
It's a Draw
Draw controls have not been one of UNH's strengths this season, but the 'Cats did record a 16-13 edge in that statistic against Boston University (April 6).
Overall, opponents have totaled 127 in comparison to the Wildcats' 104. The opposition recorded a 3:1 ratio (36-12 overall) in the first three games before the Wildcats finished with the advantage in draw controls at Colgate (March 5), albeit by the slimmest of margins (16-15). New Hampshire also finished plus-one in the draw control column vs. both George Mason and Presbyterian. The 'Cats finished even in that stat at UMBC.
America East Player of the Game
The America East conference is continuing its Player of the Game award in the 2011 season. A UNH player will be recognized following every league game and all home games. No Wildcat received the honor more than twice in the '10 season.
March 2 vs. UMass–Ally Stager (1g, 2gb, 1cto)
March 14 vs. George Mason– Ally Stager (2g, 3gb, 2cto, 2dc)
March 26 at UMBC– Hayley Rausch (2g, 2a)
April 6 vs. Boston U.– Hayley Rausch (5g, 1a)
April 9 at Albany
April 16 vs. Stony Brook
April 23 vs. Vermont
April 29 vs. Boston College
May 1 at Binghamton
Scouting the Great Danes
The University at Albany, ranked #10 in this week's IWLCA Poll, extended its season-opening win streak to 10 with Wednesday's 19-3 victory against Vermont at John Fallon Field. The Great Danes are 6-0 at home this season and have defeated four nationally-ranked teams (Penn State, Hofstra, UMass and Boston College).
UAlbany is one of four undefeated D-I women's lacrosse teams and has won nine consecutive America East league games.
The Great Danes have been winning with defense, as they entered the week ranked #1 in the nation at 5.80 goals allowed per game. Anna Berman has started all 10 games and played all but 43 minutes, 12 seconds of a possible 600:00; she is 10-0 with a 6.03 GAA and .521 save percentage.
Taylor Frink leads the team in goals (24), assists (20) and points (44); in fact, she accounts for almost 50% of the team's assist total (42). Jodi Battaglia (20g, 9a), Ariana Parker (23g, 1a), Nikki Branchini (16g, 3a), Rachael Burek (14g) and Amanda Pollock (11g, 1a) are the other top point producers.
Frink also leads the team in ground balls while Branchini is second in that stat as well as the leader in both draw controls and caused turnovers.
New Hampshire and UAlbany have played just one common opponent this season. UNH lost 11-4 to UMass at home, whereas the Great Danes defeated the Minutewomen, 10-8, on the road.