DURHAM, N.H. – Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) and Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded three points apiece, but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 12-4 by the University of Vermont in Wednesday afternoon's America East action at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, playing its first home game at Cowell Stadium since 1999, fell to 3-7 overall and 0-2 in America East. Vermont, which has won three consecutive meetings in the Battle of the 'Cats, improved to 6-7, 1-2.
Simpson netted three goals to extend her goal-scoring streak to 10 games while McHoul finished with a goal and two assists as well as two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
UNH starting goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) exited the game with the Wildcats trailing 9-3 with 12:45 remaining; she recorded nine saves and two ground balls, and was charged with the loss. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) was credited with one shot the rest of the way.
UVM's balanced attack – seven Catamounts scored a goal and nine tallied a point – was led by Sydney Mas (three goals, one assist) and Vanessa VanderZalm (3g). Charlotte Lyons made 10 saves; she also had a game-high four ground balls and a caused turnover.
Vermont controlled possession a majority of the first half to record a 15-5 shot advantage, but the visitors led by just one goal, 3-2, at halftime.
UVM took a 1-0 lead at 21:30 when VanderZalm scored on a drive down the right side of the fan. The advantage quickly extended to two goals when Jen Madsen's pass from the right wing found Samantha Gallerani alone at the left post for an open-net goal at 19:54.
O'Keefe kept the margin at two goals when she denied Karli MacKendrick at 16:17 and Gallerani at 13:34. Mas was awarded a free position deep on the left side of the fan and fired a shot inside the far post to give the Catamounts a 3-0 lead at 12:20.
Lyons preserved that three-goal cushion by turning aside Simpson at 9:04 and Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) at 7:40. Moments later, McHoul caused a turnover at midfield and corralled the ground ball. She quickly found Simpson behind the defense at the top of the fan, and Simpson charged the net before ripping a shot into the cage to left New Hampshire within 3-1 at 7:00.
O'Keefe once again turned away Mas' shot at 2:08, and then the UNH goalie collected a ground ball with 39 seconds remaining in the half. The Wildcats advanced the ball to the other end of the field, where McHoul, from behind the left post, found Simpson in front and the senior captain dropped her crosse low and place a low shot into the cage with nine seconds on the clock.
UVM's VanderZalm was awarded a free position with one second remaining on the clock, but her shot from the left wing sailed wide of the far post as time expired.
VanderZalm finished a feed from MacKendrick to give the Catamounts a 4-2 lead at 28:14 of the second half. UNH closed within a goal, 4-3, when Simpson netted an unassisted goal at 25:36.
Vermont scored eight consecutive goals the next 24 minutes to methodically pull away. Ariel Nicholas responded with a goal 34 seconds later to reestablish a two-goal lead, 5-3. Justine Allen scored on a free-position shot from the left wing to extend the advantage to 6-3 at 22:26, then Mas set up the first of two consecutive Emma Kelly goals at 19:55. Kelly's free-position goal in a man-up situation made it 8-3 at 16:01.
UVM's Erica Estey scored a man-down goal at 12:45 to push the score to 9-3 and prompt UNH to call time out and change goalies.
Lyons stopped Simpson at 10:21, and Mas scored 20 seconds later to give the visitors a 10-3 advantage. Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) gained possession on the ensuing draw control, which led to a shot by Puccia at 9:29 that was stopped by Lyons. Hinkle corralled the ground ball, however, to retain possession for the Wildcats and her free-position shot at 8:59 was snared by Lyons.
VanderZalm scored her third goal of the game on a free position at 4:07 and Mas struck again at 2:36 to give Vermont a 12-3 lead.
McHoul once again forced a turnover and picked up the ground ball to lead to her free-position goal at 1:29.
UVM recorded a 33-17 shot advantage. UNH had the edge in ground balls (17-14) and draw controls (10-8).
New Hampshire returns to action April 6 (1 p.m.) at Binghamton University. The Wildcats' next home game is April 10; game time at Memorial Field is 4 p.m.