PHILADELPHIA -- Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded seven points to lead the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Sunday afternoon's 12-8 non-conference victory against Drexel University at Vidas Field.
UNH won its second consecutive game to improve to 5-5. Drexel is now 4-5.
McHoul scored a career-high four goals and tallied three assists to finish with seven points. She had two goals and three assists in the first half to help the Wildcats overcome an early 2-0 deficit and take an 8-3 halftime lead.
Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.), Marissa Gurello (Manorville, N.Y.) and Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) each netted two goals; it marked Gurello's first career multiple-point game, while Puccia was also credited with five draw controls, two ground balls and two caused turnovers. Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.; 1g, 1a) and Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.; 2a) also finished with multiple points for the 'Cats; it was McGillis' first career multiple-assist effort.
Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) recorded four of her six saves in the second half to thwart the Dragons' late comeback. She also tallied five ground balls. Drexel counterpart Teresha Bradley made three saves.
Kelly Palace, Alissa Watts and Milan White scored two goals apiece for Drexel.
Unassisted goals by White and Palace at 28:46 and 26:33, respectively, gave the home team a two-goal lead early in the first half.
Hinkle, with the assistance of McGillis, pulled UNH within 2-1 at 24:01 and ignited a 5-0 run. McHoul potted her first goal of the game to tie the score at 20:58, then Gaffey scored an unassisted goal at 15:57 to give the Wildcats a 3-2 lead they would not relinquish. Hinkle won the ensuing draw control and Puccia finished a feed from McHoul to extend the advantage to 4-2 at 15:04.
Drexel called time out, but New Hampshire again controlled the draw – this time by Puccia – and maintained possession until McHoul curled from behind the net around the left post for a goal and 5-2 margin at 13:21.
The Dragons trimmed the deficit to 5-3 at 6:33 when Amanda Norcini set up Eva Winiarski.
UNH closed the half with three consecutive goals, however, to build an 8-3 advantage. Gaffey scored on a free position from the top of the fan by firing a low shot inside the left post to reestablish a three-goal lead of 6-3 at 3:04. McHoul then set up goals by Gurello with 33 seconds left and Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) with five seconds to play to give the 'Cats their largest lead of the half. Puccia won the draw control following Gurello's tally to give UNH the opportunity to strike again before halftime.
In the second half, Drexel struck first on White's free-position goal at 27:22, but New Hampshire gained possession of the ensuing draw control and McGillis was awarded a free position at 26:30. She opted to pass to the left side and Puccia converted that into a goal and 9-4 lead at 26:27.
Hurwitz kept the Dragons at bay when she denied White on a free-position shot from the left wing with 23 minutes remaining.
The Wildcats struck again to extend the advantage to 10-4 at 18:25 when McHoul curled around the right post for her second goal and sixth point of the game. Watts responded 43 seconds later with a free-position goal on a high shot to lift Drexel within 10-5.
Hinkle, from the top-right side, slipped a pass low to Gurello for a goal and 11-5 lead at 14:56. McHoul gained possession of the draw control and struck again as she cut low across the middle of the fan to the right side and finished a feed from Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.) on the right wing. That goal gave the 'Cats their largest lead of the game, 12-5, at 12:55.
McHoul once again won the draw, but UNH quickly lost possession and that led to Joelle Hartke's unassisted goal that pulled the Dragons within 12-6 at 12:09.
Hurwitz denied Norcini at 10:56 and then Palace at 7:03 to keep the margin at six goals. Drexel closed to 12-7 when Caroline Thiele set up Watts at 4:02. Hinkle corralled the ball on the draw control and the 'Cats maintained possession for one minute before DU's Madeline DiBrino gathered a ground ball. The Dragons cleared the ball into the attack zone and struck again on Palace's goal at 2:18 to create a 12-8 score.
Drexel's comeback effort continued when DiBrino won the draw control. Winiarski fired a shot wide at 1:51, but the home team retained possession and was awarded a free position at 1:37. Emily Duffey's shot from the top of the fan toward the left post was stopped by Hurwitz, however, and she scooped up the loose ball behind the cage to secure the victory.
UNH finished with the edge in both ground balls (14-12) and draw controls (12-10). Drexel recorded a 12-8 shot advantage in the second half and 20-19 mark overall.
New Hampshire returns to action March 29 for its America East conference opener against the University of Vermont. Game time at Cowell Stadium is 1 p.m.