The UNH women's lacrosse team (7-8 overall, 2-2 America East) concludes the 2014 regular season with a Senior Day home game against 20th-ranked University at Albany (12-2, 3-1 AE). Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m. and the six-member Class of 2014 will be honored following the conclusion of the game. Visit www.unhwildcats.com for the links to live stats and video.
Developing the Playoff Picture
Stony Brook University, with a 4-0 conference record, has secured at least a share of the America East regular-season title and the No. 1 seed of the tournament, which will be held May 2 & 4. The University at Albany (3-1) and UNH (2-2) have also secured a berth in the tourney. UA will be the No. 2 seed with a win at UNH, and could the be second, third or fourth seed with a loss to the Wildcats. UNH could also finish anywhere from the No. 2-4 seeds; the Wildcats will be the No. 2 seed with a win coupled with a loss by Vermont; UNH will be the No. 3 seed with a win and UVM loss OR with a loss, UVM loss and Binghamton win; New Hampshire will be the No. 4 seed with a loss, UVM win/loss and Binghamton loss.
The University of Vermont (2-2) controls its own destiny and will advance to the tournament with a win against Stony Brook. UMBC (1-3) needs help to advance to the conference tourney; the Retrievers will get the final spot with a win vs. Binghamton combined with a Vermont loss, regardless of the outcome of the UNH game.
Vote for Puccia
Voting for the 2014 America East Women's Lacrosse Fans' Choice Player of the Year began Wednesday and continues until April 29 (4 p.m. Eastern). Cast your vote for UNH junior midfielder Laura Puccia by visiting the America East Facebook page and clicking both Like AND Share on her photo. Click here to vote.
The Series vs. Albany
New Hampshire has an 11-7 lifetime record against Albany, but the Great Danes have won each of the last six meetings and 7 of 8. Last year, UA ousted UNH from the America East Championship with a 13-6 win in the semifinals (neutral-site game at Stony Brook); the Great Danes also prevailed 11-6 at home during the regular season. The Wildcats' most recent win vs. Albany was in the 2009 America East semifinals by a score of 17-9; New Hampshire's most recent home win was April 2008 (17-7).
UNH has a 5-2 home record in this series. In the most recent matchup in Durham (April 2012), the Great Danes escaped with a 9-8 victory. UA held the ball and a 9-7 lead with three minutes remaining, but the 'Cats regained possession with 27 seconds on the clock and trimmed the margin to one with 11 seconds to play. UNH won the ensuing draw control, but that 'Cat lost her footing and the ball in the waning seconds. The Great Danes held leads of 3-0, 5-3 and 7-4
The State of New Hampshire
UNH enters the weekend with a 7-8 overall record that includes 2-2 in America East and 4-4 at home (1-0 at Memorial Field; 1-1 in conference home games). The Wildcats' two-game win streak ended with last Saturday's 15-5 loss at 17th-ranked Stony Brook; after falling behind 9-0, the Wildcats scored four consecutive goals to pull within 9-4 at 24:59 of the second half; the 'Cats trailed 11-5 with 17:58 remaining, but the Seawolves closed the game on a 4-0 run to pull away.
The past seven home games, New Hampshire has alternated wins and losses; the Wildcats were 18-5 victors in their most recent home game vs. Binghamton (April 12). UNH has an 0-3 record against nationally-ranked teams and been outscored 44-19; all three games (Boston College, UMass and Stony Brook) were on the road.
A Celebration of Centuries
Three UNH Wildcats recorded their 100th career point this season, and one also scored career goal No. 100. The most recent 'Cat to attain the point milestone was sophomore Laura McHoul. She entered the April 19 game at 17th-ranked Stony Brook University with 97 career points and inched closer to the benchmark with assists at 9:47 and 7:24 of the first half before tallying her 100th career point with an assist at 6:26. McHoul enters Saturday's game with 102 career points (36g, 66a) in 31 games –that's an average of 3.29 ppg. The last Wildcat sophomore to reach the 100-point milestone was Katie Leland in 2004.
Junior midfielder Laura Puccia has recorded both her 100th career point and 100th career goal this season. She attained the point milestone March 14 against Fairfield University with the last of her five points – and her only assist of the game – at 4:20 of the second half. Puccia scored her 100th career goal with the last of her three tallies April 12 vs. Binghamton; the milestone marker was scored at 6:47 of the second half. Puccia currently has 118 points (102g, 16a) in 47 games.
Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle recorded her 100th career point with the sixth of her career-high seven points April 12 against Binghamton. She tallied point 100 with her second goal of two goals in the game, which was scored at 23:56 of the second half. Hinkle has 101 points (50g, 51a) in 48 games.
Kayleigh Hinkle recorded both her 50th career goal and 50th career assist in the same game she tallied her 100th career point – Saturday, April 12 vs. Binghamton. She scored her 50th career goal with the second of her two tallies against the Bearcats (also her century milestone) at 23:56 of the second half. She tallied assist No. 50 the previous goal at 26:17.
Hinkle is just the ninth Wildcat to join the 50-50 club. The previous 'Cat to join the club was Ilana Cohen in her senior season of 2012.
Laura McHoul recorded a season-high five assists last Saturday at 17th-ranked Stony Brook; McHoul has tallied a point in 13 of 15 games this season. Marissa Gurello scored multiple goals for the second consecutive game with two at SBU; she has scored five goals the past two games; in comparison, Gurello scored four goals the first 13 games of the season. Laura Puccia extended her point and goal streaks to 11 games with two goals against the Seawolves last Saturday; both the goal and point streaks are the longest by any Wildcat this season; Puccia has scored multiple goals all 11 games and in 13 of 14 games this season. Kayleigh Hinkle was held off the scoresheet at SBU to end her eight-game point and goal streaks; Hinkle has recorded a point in 13 of 15 games.
New Hampshire limited the UMBC Retrievers to two goals April 5 at UMBC Stadium. Backboned by goalie Taylor Hurwitz, the Wildcats shut out UMBC the final 53:13 of the game. UNH had not held a conference opponent to less than five goals since April 2009 (17-4 win vs. Vermont). The last time the 'Cats held a conference opponent to as few as two goals was April 2006 (18-2 win vs. Binghamton).
In the next game, Hurwitz and the Wildcats shut out Binghamton the opening 18:19 of the game to extend the overall streak to 71 minutes, 32 seconds.
A pair of Wildcats entered the week among the national leaders. Taylor Hurwitz is No. 10 in saves (130) and No. 15 in saves per game (8.67), and Laura McHoul is No. 9 in assists (33) as well as No. 8 in assists per game (2.20).
Laura McHoul leads the America East conference (through April 25) in assists per game (2.20) and is sixth in points per game (3.53). Taylor Hurwitz is atop the conference leaderboard in saves per game (8.67) and third in save percentage (.459). Laura Puccia is the top-ranked 'Cat in goals per game at No. 4 (2.71); Puccia is also No. 3 in draw controls (4.07 per game) and No. 9 in points (3.14 ppg). Kayleigh Hinkle is among the conference leaders in both assists (No. 7, 1.13 apg) and draw controls at No. 5 (3.07 per game).
Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle is the only Wildcat who has recorded double digits in goals (25), assists (17), ground balls (14) and draw controls (44). She is on the verge of reaching double digits in another statistic – Hinkle currently has eight caused turnovers.
Two other 'Cats are close to achieving the quadruple-double. Laura McHoul is at 20g, 33a, eight GB and 16 DC while Nicole Grote has 17g, 11a, 14 GB and nine DC.
Climbing the Ranks
Two current 'Cats are in the program's Top 10 career assist list with sophomore Laura McHoul at No. 5 (66) and junior Kayleigh Hinkle is No. 10 (51).
McHoul supplanted Ilana Cohen (52) at No. 8 with the last of her three assists March 23 at Drexel, which increased her career total to 53. She jumped to No. 5 (60) with the last of her three assists April 2 at Boston U. – Maud Kernan, Laurie Leary and Megan Mangano had been tied at No. 5 with 59. Immediately ahead of McHoul is Liz Brickley at No. 4 (67) and then Shaunna Kaplan at No. 3 (79).
McHoul has 33 assists year to match her freshman total from last season; that total ranks second on the program's list of single-season superlatives. The single-season benchmark of 35 was established by Geromini in 1986.
Hinkle took sole possession of No. 10 on UNH's all-time assist list with the fourth of her five assists April 12 against Binghamton University. Hinkle currently has 51 career assists and she will climb into a tie at No. 9 with Cohen on her next assist. Last year, Hinkle finished with 25 assists to tie for the ninth-best single-season effort in program history (now ranks 10th).
Also of note, Taylor Hurwitz is on the verge of entering the Top 5 on UNH's single season list for minutes played. She is currently at 900:00 with No. 5, Danielle Martin at 928:23 (in 2003) and No. 4, Shelby Hodgkins at 945:00 (1996).
Get the Ball
Senior defender and captain Jamie DePetris leads the team in both ground balls (27) and in caused turnovers (13). Cori Rees, another senior defender and captain, ranks second in GB (25) and is tied for second with nine CTO. Juniors Laura Puccia and Kayleigh Hinkle rank 1-2 in draw controls with 57 and 46, respectively, to account for 103 of UNH's 161 draws (63.4%).
UNH has recorded 86 assists on 124 field goals (goals not scored on a free position), which calculates to 69.4%. In comparison, the opposition has 59 assists on 110 field goals (53.4%). The Wildcats recorded a season-high 10 assists on 11 field goals at Iona College (March 10) and matched that total vs. Binghamton (April 12).
New Hampshire is 5-1 when scoring in double digits and the Wildcats are 1-7 when the opposition scores at least 10 goals. The only loss when UNH netted double figures was a 15-12 decision to Vermont (March 29 at Cowell Stadium).
Senior defender Jamie DePetris has bested her single-season highs in both ground balls (27) and caused turnovers (13); her previous single-season bests were established last year in both GB (18) and CTO (10)... Cara Dowdle, another senior defender, has 16 ground balls and 10 caused turnovers in 2014; in her first three years as a Wildcat, she compiled 12 GBs and nine CTOs... Senior midfielder Molly Gaffey has also had a breakout year with 11 goals, six assists, 16 ground balls and eight caused turnovers; she entered the '14 season with career numbers of seven goals, two assists, 19 GBs and eight CTOs... Junior midfielder Laura Puccia has eclipsed her single-season highs in both goals (38) and points (44); her previous bests of 34 goals and 41 assists were in 2012... Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle has single-season bests of 25 goals, 46 draw controls and eight CTOs... Junior midfielder Rachael Nock has scored double digits in goals for the first time in her career; she had nine tallies as a freshman and sophomore... Sophomore attack Laura McHoul has scored 20 goals and tallied 53 points to surpass both rookie totals.
Scouting the Great Danes
The University at Albany, ranked No. 20 in the national polls, travels to Durham with a 12-2 overall record that includes 3-1 in America East and 7-1 on the road (2-0 in conference road games). Most recently, the Great Danes recorded a 12-8 victory at UMBC on Saturday, April 19. UA opened the 2014 season with nine consecutive wins before (then) third-ranked Syracuse University edged the Great Danes by a 13-11 score. Albany's other loss was an 8-4 decision at home against Stony Brook University on April 12.
Albany's high-powered offense, which ranks No. 8 in the country at 14.79 goals per game, is led by Rachel Bowles. She has 40 goals and 23 assists for 63 points in 14 games to rank eighth in points per game (4.50). Four other Great Danes have tallied 30+ points – Ariana Parker ranks second on the team in both goals (33) and points (43) and she is followed by Allie Phelan (31g, 4a), Dakotah Savitcheff (29g, 2a) and Maureen Keggins (17g, 13a). In addition to her offensive production, Parker is UA's team leader in caused turnovers and ranks second in ground balls.
Anna Berman, who has played 96.2% of the 840 minutes in goal, anchors the nation's No. 4 defense that has yielded 6.86 goals per game. Berman has a 6.76 GAA and .468 save percentage.
Kathleen Lennon has a team-high 73 draw controls – 41 more than the next Great Dane (Christine Johnson) – and is also atop the Great Danes' leaderboard in ground balls (33); Lennon is also second in caused turnovers (16).
Albany has outscored the opposition 207-96, including 117-43 in the first half, on the strength of a 400-253 shot advantage (234-118 in the first half).
GAME NOTES: Women's Lax Senior Day vs. 20th-Ranked Albany (April 26)