Burnap, Leland pace 'Cats with four goals each

Jess Burnap

BOSTON - Jess Burnap (New Canaan, Conn.) and Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.) both scored four goals to lead the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Thursday afternoon's 14-6 victory against the University at Albany in the semifinals of the America East Championship at Boston University's Nickerson Field.

UNH, the second seed of the tourney with a 5-1 conference record, improved to 11-7 overall and will play top-seeded Boston University, a 20-5 victor against UMBC in Thursday's early semifinal, in Saturday afternoon's title game at one o'clock. Albany, which was also ousted by UNH in last year's semifinals, ends the season at 6-12.

This will be the fourth consecutive year that New Hampshire and BU will meet in the America East championship game. The Wildcats are the defending champions and BU won consecutive titles in 2002 and 2003.

Leland also recorded two assists to finish with a game-high six points and Cristina Covucci (Concord, Mass.) was the third Wildcat to record multiple goals as she matched her career highs in goals (two) and points (three). Stacey Plati (Nashua, N.H.) was credited with nine saves, including six in the second half, to earn the victory.

UNH scored two quick goals to take a 2-0 lead on goals by Burnap, with the assistance of Laura Dosdall (Wellesley, Mass.), at 1:25 and Leland at 2:26. The Wildcats continued to control play and Renee Nemmers (Englewood, Colo.) extended the advantage to 3-0 when she converted a pass from Leland into her second goal of the year at 7:12.

That tally prompted an Albany timeout, but Burnap struck again at 7:51. That four-goal cushion was extended to five at 18:46 on an unassisted tally by Jill Albee (Pembroke, N.H.) and Dosdall scored 74 seconds later to give the 'Cats a 6-0 lead.

Brittany Scott's free position goal put the Great Danes into the scoring column at 21:21 and Sarah Spillett trimmed the deficit to 6-2 at 23:36.

Leland scored the last two goals of the half - one just 17 seconds after Spillett's to swing momentum back in UNH's favor and the other off a pass from Kristin Blanchette (Sudbury, Mass.) - to give the Wildcats an 8-2 halftime lead.

Christine Carbone's (Nashua, N.H.) first career goal opened the second half scoring at 38:30, then Albany scored three goals in a three-minute span to pull within 9-5. Covucci's first tally of the game at 44:16 quelled the Great Danes' rally, but UA once again closed within four goals on Katie DeJoseph's tally with 11:41 remaining.

New Hampshire held Albany scoreless the rest of the way and pulled away behind Leland (at 22:04) and goals 30 seconds apart by Burnap and Covucci at 56:07 and 56:37, respectively. Burnap closed the scoring with nine seconds remaining.

Albany goalie Jen Daly was credited with six saves, all in the second half.

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