Blanchette leads Wildcats with career-high six goals
DURHAM, N.H. -- In a battle for first place in the America East conference standings, senior captains Kristin Blanchette (Sudbury, Mass.) and Katie Leland (Timonium, Md.) recorded six points apiece to propel the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Saturday afternoon's 20-9 victory against the University of Maryland-Baltimore County at Memorial Field.
UNH extended its unbeaten streak to six games to improve to 7-4 overall and 3-0 in America East. UMBC, which entered the game with a four-game winning streak, is now 7-5, 2-1.
Blanchette scored a career-high six goals to match her personal best mark of six points while Leland, the reigning America East Player of the Week who became UNH's all-time points leader earlier in the week, netted four goals and assisted on two others. Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) finished with five points on a personal-best three assists and two goals. Alexa Webster (Aurora, Colo.) had three goals and an assist, and Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) recorded personal bests in both assists (two) and points (four). Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.; two goals) and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) accounted for the team's other goals. UNH goalkeeper Ashley Milley (Sudbury, Mass.) made three saves.
UMBC was led offensively by Ali Levendusky (four goals, one assist) and Kelly Fiorani (two goals, two assists). Starting goalie Susie Sweeney stopped nine shots and was charged with the loss as she exited the game with the Retrievers trailing 13-9 at 45:51. Jen Venter played the final 14:09 and was not credited with a save.
Trailing 9-4 at halftime, UMBC opened the second half with a 4-1 spurt to close within 10-8 at 38:59 and force UNH to call time out. The Retrievers continued their comeback, however, and trimmed the deficit to 10-9 at 40:15 with Levendusky's third goal of the half.
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to respond, as Leland gained possession off the ensuing draw control and passed the ball over the defense to Webster, who scored to reestablish a two-goal cushion, 11-9, at 40:25. Leland netted an unassisted goal 47 seconds later and Webster's third tally of the game gave the Wildcats a 13-9 advantage at 45:51.
UMBC changed goalies at that point, but Blanchette's fourth goal extended the Wildcats' lead to 14-9 at 50:34. Levendusky appeared to end UNH's run of four consecutive goals with seven minutes remaining, but the goal was disallowed by virtue of an illegal stick.
Von Bargen's unassisted goal put New Hampshire in front 15-9 at 53:15. The Retrievers called their second timeout at that point, but the 'Cats won the ensuing draw control and went into a spread offense that yielded a goal by Leland, from Talbot, at 55:19 to push the advantage to 16-9.
Sabiston and Blanchette alternated goals the rest of the way to close the scoring.
UMBC took an early 1-0 lead at 1:55 on a goal by Fiorani but Talbot scored consecutive goals 45 seconds apart - at 3:47 and 4:32 - to give the 'Cats a lead they would not relinquish.
Webster scored on a free position shot at 6:13 and Leland, off Durepo's pass, struck 43 seconds later to create a 4-1 lead and force UMBC to call time out.
The Retrievers pulled within 4-2 on Levendusky's goal at 10:05, but the Wildcats went on a 4-0 spurt with two tallies by Blanchette and Durepo to build an 8-2 advantage at 13:49. Goals by Fiorani (at 14:15) and Levendusky (22:04) surrounded Leland's tally at 19:25 to close the first-half scoring.
Leland extended her UNH career points record to 242 with the six-point effort. She is also No. 2 in assists (82) and No. 3 in goals (160). Blanchette entered the program's top 10 career goals list at No. 10 with 96.
New Hampshire continues its four-game homestand April 12 (4 p.m.) vs. Harvard University and resumes conference play against Binghamton University on April 15 (1 p.m.).