BALTIMORE – Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) and Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) both recorded career highs to lead the offense and Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) tallied 12 saves to backbone the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 8-2 America East conference victory against UMBC at UMBC Stadium.
UNH, now 12-1 lifetime against UMBC, improved to 6-7 overall as well as 3-3 on the road and 1-1 in America East. The Retrievers are now 5-6 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
Gaffey finished with a goal and three assists to record career highs in both assists and points (four), while Hinkle scored a personal-best four goals and also had two assists to match her personal best of six points. Gaffey also tallied four caused turnovers and two ground balls. Hinkle's other stats included four ground balls, which tied for the team lead with Jamie DePetris (Radnor, Pa.). DePetris was also credited with three caused turnovers.
Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) contributed two goals, five draw controls, one ground ball and one caused turnover for the 'Cats.
Hurwitz held UMBC scoreless the final 53 minutes, 13 seconds of the game and finished with 12 saves as well as two GB and one CTO. UMBC goalie Kelly Gielner made seven saves and Mackenzie Reese scored both Retrievers' goals.
The Retrievers struck first when Reese scored at 26:00, but Puccia finished a feed from Emma Kriss (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) to level the score, 1-1, at 24:41. Reese netted a free-position goal to put the home team back in front, 2-1, at 23:13.
Hurwitz and the 'Cats kept UMBC scoreless the remainder of the first half, however, to build a 6-2 lead through 30 minutes. Puccia, this time with the assistance of Hinkle, scored her second goal of the game, 33rd of the season and 97th of her career to tie the game, 2-2, at 18:15.
Hinkle scored three consecutive goals -- in a span of 11 mnutes – to give New Hampshire a lead it would not relinquish. Gaffey set up the first tally at 15:24 to give the Wildcats their first lead of the game, 3-2. Hinkle then potted an unassisted goal at 6:42 and Gaffey once again set up Hinkle at 4:37 to extend the advantage to 5-2.
Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.) closed the first-half scoring with an unassisted tally at 1:39.
In addition to outscoring the hosts by four goals in the first half, the Wildcats recorded the edge in shots (17-12), ground balls (13-11) and draw controls (5-3) while committing fewer turnovers (7-13).
UMBC controlled play in the opening five minutes of the second half to record a 5-0 shot advantage, but Hurwitz stopped all four shots on goal to keep the Retrievers' deficit at 6-2.
Then, in reverse order from the first half, Hinkle assisted on a goal by Gaffey to give the 'Cats a 7-2 lead at 24:05. UMBC called a timeout, and four minutes later Shannon Harkey was denied by Hurwitz.
UNH advanced the ball to the other end of the field, where Puccia fired a shot that ricocheted off the crossbar and then one minute later, Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) shot wide of the cage.
The Wildcats extended their streak of consecutive goals to seven when the first half combination of Gaffey setting up Hinkle returned to produce a goal and 8-2 lead at 15:59.
UNH recorded the next four shots before the Retrievers called another timeout at 7:24. The break was beneficial to the home team, which had a prolonged attack the next three minutes. Amber Kovalick was turned aside by Hurwitz at 6:43, however, and then Abby Wilson shot high and Caroline Haggerty missed wide within the next minute. With five minutes remaining, Hurwitz once again thwarted Kovalick's bid, and one minute later Kristen Bilney's shot hit the post.
Hinkle corralled the ground ball off Bilney's shot to finally give possession back to the Wildcats. Both teams recorded one shot in the final minute, but Wilson was once again denied by Hurwitz and Hinkle's shot sailed high of the crossbar.
UNH finished with the edge in shots (26-24) and draw controls (7-4), but UMBC tallied a 15-6 second-half advantage in ground balls for a 26-19 margin overall.
New Hampshire returns to action April 12 at home against Binghamton University. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.