GAME NOTES: Women's Lax Battles Stony Brook In America East Semi
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America East Championship || Semifinal
Game 17: Friday, May 2 at Stony Brook
LaValle Stadium || Stony Brook, N.Y. || 5 pm
The UNH women's lacrosse team (7-9 overall, 2-3 America East) is the No. 4 seed of the America East Championship and faces off against top-seeded and host Stony Brook University (14-3, 4-1 AE) in a May 2 semifinal game; start time at LaValle Stadium is 5 p.m. Visit www.unhwildcats.com for the links to live stats and video.
Puccia Voted America East Fans' Choice Player of the Year
UNH junior midfielder Laura Puccia was named recipient of the 2014 America East Women's Lacrosse Fans' Choice Player of the Year award on Tuesday, April 29. Puccia received 778 of the 1,873 total votes (41.5%) to edge out five other candidates.
Voting was held exclusively through the conference's Facebook page from April 23-29. Puccia was third in the voting – she trailed Binghamton University's Bri Arthur and University at Albany's Rachel Bowles – as of Monday morning, and she sat in second place, 34 votes behind Arthur, with eight hours remaining in the voting. The UNH fans rallied to support the Wildcats' top goal scorer on the final day as she outdistanced both Arthur (567 votes) and Bowles (467).
Since the inception of the Fan's Choice Player of the Year in 2009, Puccia is the second UNH Wildcat to win the honor; In 2012, Wildcat Country voted then-senior Kate Keagins the Fans' Choice Player of the Year.
The Series vs. Stony Brook
New Hampshire has a 7-5 lifetime record against Stony Brook, but the Seawolves have won each of the last three meetings and that includes a 15-5 victory two weeks ago (Saturday, April 29) at LaValle Stadium. SBU also prevailed 16-6 last year in Durham and 12-10 at home in 2012.
Friday's semifinal will be the first postseason meeting between these programs.
UNH's most recent win in this series was April 16, 2011 at the Wildcats' Memorial Field by a score of 12-6. That was the last of four consecutive wins against the Seawolves, which included road wins in 2008 (17-10) and 2010 (12-8). Overall, the 'Cats have a 3-3 road record against SBU.
In this year's game, Stony Brook scored three goals in 38 seconds to quickly build a 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the first half. The home team extended the advantage to 9-0, but UNH held the Seawolves scoreless the last 17:18 of the half to claw within 9-3. The Wildcats also opened the second-half scoring at 24:59 but SBU outscored the 'Cats 6-1 the rest of the way, including 4-0 the last 17 minutes, to pull away.
In a look at the stats, Stony Brook recorded the edge in shots (25-19) and ground balls (22-17) while committing fewer turnovers (15-21); the Wildcats had a 13-9 advantage in draw controls.
SBU was led offensively by Alyssa Cardillo (1g, 7a), Dorrien Van Dyke (3g, 4a) and Courtney Murphy (6g) while Frankie Caridi made eight saves.
UNH's Laura McHoul factored in all five of the team's goals with five assists, and she recorded her 100th career point on her third point of the day. Laura Puccia and Marissa Gurello both scored twice. Taylor Hurwitz stopped six shots.
The State of New Hampshire
UNH enters postseason play with a 7-9 overall record that includes 3-4 on the road. The Wildcats went 2-3 in America East play with a 1-1 road ledger in conference games.
With seven wins, UNH has exceeded last year's total of six (as well as the 2012 mark of five).
New Hampshire has tallied 90 assists this season to mark the team's highest total since the 2010 Wildcats finished with 100 (and that was in 17 games).
The Wildcats ended the regular season with consecutive losses against nationally-ranked conference foes Stony Brook (15-5 on April 19) and Albany (19-5 on April 26). New Hampshire has alternated wins and losses in groups of two the past eight games (WW-LL-WW-LL).
The Wildcats scored a season-low five goals each of the last two games of the regular season (vs. SBU and UA); UNH also netted five goals vs. Lehigh (March 1). The 'Cats recorded a season-low six ground balls in the regular-season finale against Albany. The team's 14 shots marked the third lowest total of the year (10 vs. UMass on March 8; 13 vs. Dartmouth on Feb. 22). UA tallied 40 shots, which was the second-highest total by a UNH opponent in 2014 (41 by Boston U. on April 2).
How We Got Here
New Hampshire recorded consecutive league victories against UMBC (8-2 on April 12) and Binghamton (18-5 on April 12) to improve to 2-1 and into a tie for second place in the America East standings.
The Wildcats entered the last weekend of the regular season with a 2-2 league record and in a third-place tie – with a berth secured in the America East tourney.
The winner of Friday's semifinal game advances to the America East Championship title game Sunday, May 4 (12 p.m.) at LaValle Stadium. The game will be broadcast online at ESPN3.
Laura McHoul broke UNH's single-season assist record with the last of her three assists in the April 26 game against Albany. She entered with 33 assists and surpassed the previous benchmark of 35, which was established in 1986 by Karen Geromini, at 25:03 of the second half.
Laura Puccia extended her point and goal streaks to 12 games with a goal in last Saturday's regular-season finale vs. Albany.
Taylor Hurwitz entered the UNH's Top 5 list for single-season minutes by increasing her total to 960 minutes, which is fourth; Hurwitz surpassed both Danielle Martin (928:23 in 2003) and Shelby Hodgkins (945:00 in 1996). Martin is also No. 3 at 1042:55.
Hurwitz recorded double-digit saves for the seventh time this season with 12 last weekend vs. Albany.
On the Horizon
Sophomore attack Laura McHoul enters the tournament with 56 points; the last Wildcat to tally 60 points in a season was Sarah Von Bargen (62-9-71) in 2009.
The last time UNH teammates recorded 50+ points in a season was also in 2009, when Von Bargen (71p) and Shaunna Kaplan (54p) accomplished the feat. McHoul has already eclipsed 50 points with 56, and junior midfielder Laura Puccia has 45 points.
UNH vs. The Tourney Field
New Hampshire went 0-3 against the other three teams in the 2014 America East Championship tournament. The Wildcats were outscored by a 49-22 margin in those three games by Vermont (15-12), Stony Brook (15-5) and Albany (19-5).
UNH in Postseason Play
New Hampshire has a 36-32-1 lifetime record in postseason play and that includes 8-14 in the America East Championship. UNH has a 5-12 overall record in road games that includes 1-7 in conference action (and that includes 1-3 in semifinals).
The Wildcats are 7-8 in the America East semifinals, and that includes last year's 13-6 neutral-site loss to second-seeded Albany at Stony Brook's LaValle Stadium.
UNH has lost four consecutive conference tourney games. The most recent postseason win was a 17-9 victory against Albany in a 2009 semifinal game at Boston University.
New Hampshire advanced to the America East final seven times in eight years spanning the 2002-09 seasons. The 'Cats were tourney champs once (2004) and runner-up six times (all to Boston University) in that span.
The Wildcats' most recent road win in postseason play was in 2006, when they upended top-seeded UMBC, 12-5, in a league semifinal. Since then, UNH has lost four postseason road games (three in conference tourney action and another in the NCAA first round).
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 the America East Championship with 105 career points (36g, 69a) in 32 games –that's an average of 3.28 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 119 points (103g, 16a) in 48 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 49 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 gain membership in the 50-50 club. The previous 'Cat to join the club was Ilana Cohen in her senior season of 2012.
A pair of Wildcats entered this week among the national leaders. Taylor Hurwitz is No. 12 in saves (142) and No. 14 in saves per game (8.88), and Laura McHoul is No. 8 in assists per game (2.25).
Laura McHoul leads the America East conference (through May 1) in assists per game (2.25) and is sixth in points per game (3.50). Taylor Hurwitz is atop the conference leaderboard in saves per game (8.88) and third in save percentage (.452). Laura Puccia is the top-ranked 'Cat in goals per game at No. 6 (2.60); Puccia is also No. 4 in draw controls (3.87 per game) and No. 10 in points (3.00 ppg). Kayleigh Hinkle is among the conference leaders in both assists (No. 7, 1.06 apg) and draw controls at No. 5 (3.06 per game).
Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle (25g, 17a), sophomore attack Laura McHoul (20g, 36a) and Nicole Grote (18g, 11a) have recorded double digits in both goals and assists.
The last time three Wildcats tallied double figures in both goals and assists was 2011, when four players accomplished the feat.
Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle and sophomore attack Nicole Grote are the only Wildcats who have recorded double digits in goals, assists, ground balls and draw controls.
Hinkle – with 25 goals, 17 assists, 14 ground balls and 49 draw controls – is on the verge of reaching double digits in another statistic: she currently has eight caused turnovers.
Grote's totals include 18 goals, 11 assists, 14 ground balls and 10 draw controls.
Laura McHoul is close to achieving the quadruple-double; she is at 20g, 36a, nine GB and 19 DC.
Climbing the Ranks
Laura McHoul broke UNH's single-season assist benchmark of 35, which was established by Karen Geromini in 1986, with the last of her three assists April 26 vs. Albany. McHoul enters Friday's semifinal game with 36 assists.
Two current 'Cats are in the program's top 10 career assist list with McHoul at No. 4 (69) 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.
Most recently, McHoul leapfrogged Liz Brickley (67) to the No. 4 spot with the aforementioned three-assist performance against Albany in the regular-season finale last Saturday. Immediately ahead of McHoul is Shaunna Kaplan at No. 3 (79).
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).
Taylor Hurwitz broke into the top 5 list for single-season minutes by a goalkeeper during the April 26 regular-season finale vs. Albany; she entered the game at 900:00 and went the distance against the Great Danes to increase her season total to 960:00 and, in the meantime, surpass both Danielle Martin (928:23 in 2003) and Shelby Hodgkins (945:00 in 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 (26) and is tied for third with nine CTO. Juniors Laura Puccia and Kayleigh Hinkle rank 1-2 in draw controls with 58 and 49, respectively, to account for 107 of UNH's 170 draws (62.9%).
UNH has recorded 90 assists on 129 field goals (goals not scored on a free position), which calculates to 69.8%. In comparison, the opposition has 66 assists on 125 field goals (52.8%). 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 1-8 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 11 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 12 goals, six assists, 18 ground balls and nine 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 (39) and points (45); her previous bests of 34 goals and 41 points were in 2012... Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle has single-season bests of 25 goals, 49 draw controls and eight CTOs... Junior midfielder Rachael Nock has scored double digits in goals, with 12, for the first time in her career; she had nine tallies as both a freshman and sophomore... Sophomore attack Laura McHoul has scored 20 goals and tallied 56 points to surpass both rookie totals.
Leaders of the 'Cat Pack
New Hampshire is led by senior captains Jamie DePetris, Molly Gaffey and Cori Rees.
Nothing Free About It
UNH has scored 20 goals on 54 free-position shots for a .370 shooting percentage; in comparison, the Wildcats' overall shooting percentage is .438.
In comparison, the opposition has scored 47 goals on 112 free-position shots for a .420 shooting percentage, which is comparable to the overall shooting percentage of .428.
Made of Granite
Three Wildcats hail from New Hampshire – the Granite State. They are senior captains Molly Gaffey (North Hampton) and Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) as well as freshman Lily Ford (Holderness, N.H.).
Scouting the Seawolves
Stony Brook enters the 2014 America East Championship with a 14-3 overall record that includes 4-1 in conference play and 7-1 at home. The Seawolves closed the regular season with an 8-7 overtime loss at Vermont (April 26); they had won 11 consecutive games prior to last Saturday. SBU's other losses were to Notre Dame (8-7 on Feb. 22) and Florida (14-1 on March 1).
Stony Brook leads the nation in defense (5.00 gpg) and is 23rd in offense (12.59 gpg); SBU is also among the leaders in ground balls (No. 4; 20.47 per game) and caused turnovers (No. 20; 9.65 per game).
Dorrien Van Dyke leads the offense with 60 points (45g, 15a). Michelle Rubino (32g, 21a), Courtney Murphy (48g, 4a) and Alyssa Cardillo (13g, 32a). Rubino leads the Seawolves in both ground balls and caused turnovers, and is tied for the lead in draw controls.
The defense is anchored by Frankie Caridi, who leads the nation in both GAA (4.77) and save percentage (.565).