No. 17 UNH Cruises to America East Final
from press release
BOSTON - Deb Dale (East Northport, N.Y.), Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) recorded four points apiece and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) recorded her 200th career point as the 17th-ranked University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team defeated the University at Albany, 17-9, in an America East Championship semifinal game Thursday afternoon at Boston University's Nickerson Field.
UNH, in its league-record 12th consecutive tournament appearance, extended its winning streak to four games to improve to 12-6 overall. Albany, which had defeated the Wildcats in the regular season (16-15 in overtime at home), ends its season at 9-8.
Third-seeded New Hampshire advances to Saturday's championship game against top-seeded Boston University (14-3), a winner against the University of Vermont in the other semifinal. Game time at Nickerson Field is 1 p.m.
This will mark UNH's seventh appearance in an America East championship game - all against Boston University in the past eight years. The Wildcats won the 2004 title and finished as runner-up in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2008.
Dale finished with a career-high three assists and one goal to establish a personal best of four points, while Durepo tallied four goals and Kaplan had one goal and three assists to extend her point-scoring streak to 11 games.
Von Bargen entered the game with 197 career points and became the fourth UNH Wildcat to reach the 200-point milestone with her third - and final - goal of the game when she gave the ‘Cats a 14-9 lead at 6:19 of the second half.
UNH starting goalkeeper Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) was credited with one save and exited the game at the conclusion of the first half with New Hampshire leading 9-6. Nikki Hume (Hampton, N.H.) stopped two of five shots she faced in the second half.
Defensively, Kellen Millard (Ipswich, Mass.) recorded a team-high three ground balls, Beth Stankus (Concord, N.H.) had two ground balls and two caused turnovers and Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.) tallied three draw controls, one DC and one CTO.
America East All-Rookie Team selections Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) and Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) were all-around contributors as they both finished with one goal, one ground ball and two caused turnovers. Furthermore, Cohen had three draw controls and Keagins two.
Albany was led offensively by Mel Rorie (3g, 1a) and Christine Grueniger (2g, 1a) and goalie Katie Neer made seven saves. The Great Danes took a 1-0 lead at 28:12 of the first half when Rorie drove down the right side of the fan.
UNH scored four goals in a span of 2 minutes, 37 seconds to build a 4-1 advantage, and UA never pulled even thereafter. Dale, deep on the left wing, hit Durepo cutting down the middle of the fan and she fired a shot inside the right post at 26:38. Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) scored the first of her three goals - extending her goal-scoring streak to seven games -- on a free position from the top of the fan at 24:52.
The duo of Dale and Durepo combined again at 24:16 to extend the lead to 3-1. Dale, this time behind the net, once again found Durepo slicing down the middle and she scored from the right doorstep. Dale became the finisher when she scored into an open net at 24:01. Kaplan controlled the ensuing draw and quickly advanced on the right wing. Neer charged from the goalmouth to challenge Kaplan's centering pass, but Dale corralled the ball and scored.
Albany called time out at that point and pulled scored three of the next four goals to pull within 5-4. Rorie opened the spurt with an unassisted goal at 21:28, but then Susie Piotrkowski (Franklin, Conn.) scored from the right doorstep off Kaplan's pass from behind the net to reestablish a three-goal cushion at 19:03.
Rorie struck again at 17:56 and then Kayla Best scored a free-position goal at 15:29 to reduce the margin to one goal.
Durepo gave UNH a 6-4 lead at 14:26 when she collected a pass five meters in front of the goal, sidestepped a defender to the left and fired a high shot into the goal.
With eight minutes remaining in the first half, Albany's Rory Redmond drove down the middle of the fan and took aim under the crossbar, but Gunts blocked the shot behind the net and Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N..Y.; two ground balls; one draw control) was in position to earn possession for the ‘Cats.
New Hampshire advanced the ball downfield and Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.), after eluding a pair of defenders on the left wing, netted an unassisted goal at 7:28.
The teams combined to score three goals in 50 seconds - Von Bargen, with the assistance of Piotrkowski, scored between Great Danes' goals at 6:13 -- to push the score to 8-6.
Durepo was fouled hard on a drive to goal with four seconds remaining to gain a free position. She charged from the top of the fan and scored on a low shot with one second remaining on the clock to give UNH a 9-6 halftime lead.
The Wildcats scored the initial three goals of the second half to extend the advantage to 12-6. From the right wing, Kaplan found Cohen in front for a goal at 28:26 for UNH's 10th goal.
Hume then made a stop against Jodi Battaglia on her catch-and-shoot opportunity from close range on the right side at 26:30.
Dale, from behind the net, connected with Kaplan cutting down the middle of the fan and she scored from pointblank range at 23:47. Von Bargen moved closer to her milestone at 21:46 when she rolled from behind the net to the left post to give the ‘Cats a 12-6 lead.
Redmond ended UNH's four-goal run at 15:59, but Hardy gave the Wildcats a 13-7 advantage at 13:56 when she corralled a pass at the top of the 12-meter fan, sprinted to goal and fired a shot under the crossbar.
Christine Grueniger and Olivia Jarem scored 39 seconds apart at 9:27 and 8:48, respectively, to pull UA within 13-9 but the Great Danes would not score again the rest of the way.
Von Bargen recorded her 200th career point at 6:19 when she dodged a pair of defenders on a drive from the left wing to the top of the goal mouth.
Rausch pushed the lead to 15-9 at 5:32 when she caught Von Bargen's pass in front of the net with her back to the goal, pivoted to her right and then back to the left to beat the defender and Neer. Hardy netted her third of the game 29 seconds later when she drove down the middle of the fan and, with Neer out of the net pressuring the ball, Keagins scored into an open net at 3:14 to close the scoring.
New Hampshire finished with the advantages in shots (30-19), ground balls (14-13) and draw controls (17-11). The Wildcats also committed fewer turnovers (16-18) and fouls (16-29).
Von Bargen ascended to a tie for fourth on UNH's list of single-season superlatives with her three-goal effort, which increased her season total to 59. She also climbed to a tie for fifth in points with 68 this season.
Kaplan recorded her 50th career assist - and her 50th point of the season - with her first assist of the game. She now has 25 assists this season, which ranks seventh on the program's list of single-season marks; her 52 career assists also ranks seventh.
Piotrkowski has 24 assists this year to rank eighth, just behind Kaplan.
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