DURHAM, N.H. – Meghan Bridges (Sandy Hook, Conn.), Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) and Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) recorded two points apiece, but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 13-7 by 14th-ranked Dartmouth College in Saturday afternoon's season opener for both teams at Memorial Field.
Dartmouth was led offensively by Kirsten Goldberg (five goals) and Sarah Plumb (three goals, two assists), both of whom recorded five points. Hana Bowers (3g), Courtney Bennett (1g, 2a) and Liz Calby (1g, 1a) also tallied multiple points. Kristen Giovanniello made two saves each half for a total of four.
The Big Green struck five times in the opening seven minutes of the game to build a 5-0 lead. Goldberg finished a feed from Plumb 64 seconds into the game and Bowers scored 50 seconds later to quickly give the visitors a 2-0 advantage. Goldberg struck again at 25:34 to extend the margin to three goals and prompt UNH to call time out.
Plumb netted a free-position goal 30 seconds later, however, and then Bennett, on a restart from just beyond the top of the fan, scored on a high shot to give DC a 5-0 lead at 23:05.
Bridges trimmed the deficit to four goals at 20:45 when she curled behind the net to the right post and her low shot eluded Giovanniello and trickled into the cage.
The Wildcats pulled within 5-2 at 19:47. From the top of the fan, Cohen slipped a pass to the middle, where Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) turned a fired a high shot into the goal.
Keagins forced a turnover with 19 minutes remaining and UNH patiently worked the attack zone for a quality scoring chance, but Giovanniello denied Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) at 15:49. The 'Cats regained possession one minute later, but turned the ball back over to the Big Green at 13:38.
Plumb converted a free position from the top-left side into a goal to reestablish a four-goal lead, 6-2, at 12:46 and then she potted her third goal of the half at 11:30 when Lindsey Allard found Plumb cutting through the middle of the fan.
Puccia scored a free-position goal at 8:35 to trim the deficit to 7-3.
The score remained that way entering the final minute of the first half, when Dartmouth had possession and Goldberg scored with 15 seconds remaining to send the Big Green into halftime with an 8-3 lead that included a 16-7 shot advantage.
Dartmouth controlled the opening draw control of the second half, but O'Keefe stoned Goldberg to keep the 'Cats within five goals. Liz Calby intercepted an attempted pass behind UNH's goal, however and charged to the left doorstep, where she deposited a shot into the open net to make the score 9-3 at 28:51.
The Big Green once again controlled the ensuing draw and was awarded a free position, but O'Keefe denied Allard at 28:31. UNH committed a turnover and O'Keefe stopped a shot by Calby at 27:38. Another failed clear attempt gave possession back to Dartmouth and O'Keefe once again rose to the occasion with a save against Bennett.
New Hampshire advanced the ball into the attack zone and Keagins fired a shot from the right side wide of the far post. The Wildcats retained possession and Bridges netted her second goal of the season from the middle of the fan at 22:16 to lift the home squad within 9-4.
Keagins gained possession on the draw, but she was turned aside by Giovanniello at 22:06.
DC responded with goals 16 seconds apart by Bowers – at 20:28 and 20:12 – to surge ahead 11-4. The first of those tallies was set up by a free position in which Bennett, with possession on the left wing, opted to pass to Bowers cutting down the middle of the fan. On the next tally, Calby was positioned behind the right post and found Bowers at the doorstep.
Keagins scored her first goal of the game off Cohen's pass at 10:27, but the Big Green responded with Goldberg's fourth of the day at 9:35 to move the score to 12-5. DC called time out at 5:20 and Goldberg struck again at 3:35 to extend the advantage to eight goals.
Keagins and Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) scored unassisted goals at 1:22 and 29 seconds, respectively, to close the scoring.
Dartmouth finished the game with a 27-16 shot advantage and a 14-7 edge in draw controls. The Big Green also committed one less turnover, 14-13, as UNH was 6-for-13 on clear attempts.
New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 29 (3 p.m.) at the University of Massachusetts. The Wildcats' next home game is March 7 (3:30 p.m.) against the University of Connecticut.