Women's Lax Upended in America East Opener at Albany, 11-6


ALBANY, N.Y. – Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded a team-high three points but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 11-6 by the University at Albany in Sunday afternoon's America East conference action at John Fallon Field. 

UNH, which entered the game with a two-game winning streak, is now 2-6 overall and 0-1 in America East. Albany, which recorded the advantage in both shots (22-12) and draw controls (12-6), improved to 6-3, 1-0.

McHoul recorded a goal and two assists to extend her point-scoring streak to eight games. Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) was the only other Wildcat with multiple points – she tallied two goals. Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) was credited with seven saves and a team-high four ground balls. 

Albany was led offensively by Rachel Burek (two goals, five assists), Rachel Bowles (3g) and Maureen Keggins (3g). Anna Berman made five saves.

The Great Danes took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Allie Phelan at 27:59, but UNH leveled the score on a Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) free-position goal at 23:21. Both teams went scoreless the next seven minutes before Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) converted McHoul's pass into a goal and 2-1 Wildcats' lead at 16:11. 

Ariana Parker netted a man-up goal to tie the score, 2-2, at 11:44 but Gaffey gained possession of the ensuing draw control and McHoul potted an unassisted goal 30 seconds later to put the 'Cats back in front, 3-2, at 11:14.

Bowles' first goal of the game lifted UA into a 3-3 tie at 9:07. The Great Danes controlled the draw, but O'Keefe denied Jess Antelmi to keep the score deadlocked and Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) corralled the ground ball to give possession to UNH. Both teams committed a turnover and then Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) gathered a ground ball and moments later set up Puccia to give New Hampshire a 4-3 lead at 5:15. 

Albany outscored UNH 3-1 the last two minutes of the first half to take a 6-5 lead into halftime. Keggins struck at 1:54 and Burek's goal with 24 seconds on the clock gave the home team a 5-4 lead. Simpon won the ensuing draw control, which led to McHoul setting up a Hannah Wohltmann (Towson, Md.) goal with nine seconds remaining to tie the score, 5-5. The Great Danes gained possession and quickly advanced the ball as Burek set up Keggins with two seconds to play.

UA also struck first in the second half when Bowles extended the advantage to 7-5 with a free-position goal at 28:51. O'Keefe kept the margin at two goals with a save against Nichole Eamer at 25:45, and on the next UNH possession Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) set up Puccia's second goal of the day to trim the deficit to 7-6 at 24:20. 

The 'Cats had an extended possession with a chance to tie the score, but Simpson fired wide at 18:42 and then Berman stopped shots by Simpson and Gaffey within a 13-second span to preserve Albany's one-goal lead.

The Great Danes then went on the attack and Bowles' third goal made it 8-6 at 14:30. Puccia gained possession of the ensuing draw control, but the Wildcats did not record a shot before turning the ball over two minutes later. O'Keefe once again denied Antelmi at 10:53 to give possession back to UNH, but the 'Cats again committed a turnover one minute later without recording a shot. Burek's second goal of the game gave UA its largest lead of the game – three goals – of 9-6 at 7:05. 

In the next four minutes, UNH had possession of the ball just twice for a total of 18 seconds. Albany took possession with 2:59 remaining and held the ball until Andrea Flood scored a man-up goal with 37 seconds to play. Keggins scored another man-up goal 16 seconds later to close the scoring.

New Hampshire returns to action March 27 at home against Iona College. Game time at Memorial Field is 4 p.m.

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