DURHAM, N.H. – Alexa Webster (Aurora, Colo.) and Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) scored four goals apiece for the University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team, but Margie Curran and Kendall Thrift ignited Vanderbilt University’s 5-0 second-half spurt to spark the 19th-ranked Commodores to Wednesday afternoon’s 18-12 non-conference victory at Memorial Field.
UNH is now 5-5 overall and Vanderbilt is 7-4.
Trailing 11-6 with 21 minutes remaining in the game, UNH scored three consecutive goals to trim the deficit to two goals. Moira Talbot (Marblehead, Mass.) netted her team-leading 19th goal of the season with an unassisted tally at 20:37, then Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.), the reigning America East Rookie of the Week, outsprinted the defense to race to a goal at 19:26. Hardy, who has nine goals in the past two games, tallied her second of the game to pull the ‘Cats within 11-9 at 16:47.
Vanderbilt called time out at that point and eventually regained control of the game by scoring five goals in a span of 4:44 to extend its lead to 16-9. Nicole Pugno (2g) began the flurry at 15:49 and Curran (2g, 2a) scored 41 seconds later on a curl from behind the net to the left post to give the visitors a 13-9 advantage. Curran struck again at 13:21, then Thrift (3g, 3a) drove down the middle of the fan to score 44 seconds later and she scored again at 11:05 when she rolled from behind the net to the left wing.
Hardy scored on a free position shot at 10:04 to end Vandy’s five-goal spurt and pull the ‘Cats within 16-10. Cara Giordano (4g) netted her fourth goal of the game at 8:49 to reestablish the visitor’s largest lead of the game, seven goals, at 17-10.
Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) scored on a free-position shot at 8:09 and Hardy scored four minutes later to lift the ‘Cats within 17-12, but the home team was held scoreless the rest of the way. Pugno, with the assistance of Leslie Koch (2g, 1a), scored into an empty net with 57 seconds remaining to close the scoring.
UNH goalkeeper Natalie Jones (Penn Yan, N.Y.) finished with a career-high 16 saves, including 10 in the second half. Vandy’s Brooke Shinaberry made six of her nine saves in the first half.
Giordano opened the game’s scoring off a feed from Thrift at 26:48. UNH then took its only lead of the game on consecutive goals by Webster. She cut from the top of the fan to the left side to tie the game, 1-1, at 26:11, then gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead at 22:53 on a low free-position shot from the top of the circle.
Giordano’s unassisted tally evened the score at 19:15, then Koch put Vandy back in front at 15:49. Webster’s third strike of the game leveled the score, 3-3, at 15:17 but the Commodores scored four consecutive goals to build a 7-3 advantage. Thrift opened the run at 13:43 and Sarah Downing (2g, 1a) struck 13 seconds later and again at 11:09 to give VU a 6-3 edge. Jennifer Tapscott (2g, 1a) closed the four-goal run with a free-position goal at 5:23.
Tallies by Hardy (at 4:04) and Talbot (2:30) surrounded a strike by Tapscott to lift UNH within 8-5 at halftime.
VU’s Ali Lemons opened the second-half scoring at 28:02, but Webster had a quick response at the other end for the ‘Cats to make the score 9-6 at 27:35. Giordano netted a goal 32 seconds later, however, and Koch’s unassisted tally three minutes after that extended the Commodore’s lead to 11-6 at 24:03.
New Hampshire returns to action April 7 (1 p.m.) at the University at Albany. The Wildcats’ next home game is April 11 vs. Stony Brook University. Game time at Memorial Field is 3 p.m.