The University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team, which slipped one spot to #15 in this week’s IWLCA Poll but held steady at #14 in the Inside Lacrosse Media Poll, takes a 10-3 overall record into Saturday’s matchup at #10/11 Boston University (11-2). Game time at Nickerson Field is 1 p.m. Visit www.unhwildcats.com for details on live stats and video.

New Hampshire has an 11-14 lifetime record, including last year’s 7-5 home loss in the regular season and 16-4 neutral-site loss in the America East semifinals, against Boston University. The Terriers have won six straight in the series since UNH recorded an 11-9 victory in the 2004 America East title game at the Wildcats’ Memorial Field. The ‘Cats were also 7-6 road victors in the regular season that year.

In the last 10 regular-season meetings (1998-2007), the road team has an 8-2 record. UNH is 3-2 at BU in that span with wins in ‘04 and ‘02 and ‘98 as well as losses in ‘06 and ‘00.

Something’s gotta give in this matchup – UNH entered the week ranked No. 5 in the nation in defense and BU is No. 5 in offense.

BU can clinch first place in the America East standings with a win against UNH.

    UNH enters Saturday’s game with a 10-3 overall record that includes 3-1 in America East and 4-2 on the road. The Wildcats carried a nine-game winning streak into the week but were defeated 9-8 at Vermont on Wednesday; that loss also ended a streak of four consecutive road wins (vs. #10 Yale, 8-7; vs. #10 Vanderbilt, 10-7; vs. UMass, 10-6; vs. Stony Brook, 17-10) as well as the streak of eight consecutive games scoring 10+ goals.

Saturday is the team’s last regular-season road game. The Wildcats play host to Albany (April 16; 3 p.m.) and Oregon (April 20; 11 am) before entering postseason play. With a 3-1 league record, UNH has already secured a berth in the America East Championships and will make its 11th consecutive league tourney appearance.

In the last two games, the opposition has a 33-15 edge in draw controls.

New Hampshire’s 9-2 record through 11 games was the team’s best mark since the 1991 Wildcats went 10-1. The nine-game winning streak matched that of the 2006 team.

The Wildcats allowed more than seven goals just twice during  the nine-game winning streak (high of 10 at Stony Brook on April 5), and in that span they stymied the opposition to just four goals twice (UConn and UMBC).

UNH held the opposition to less than 10 goals eight consecutive games spanning March 5-29, and it marked the team’s longest streak of holding opponents to single digits since the 2002 Wildcats did so in 10 straight games.

The ‘Cats have an impressive 2008 resume. In addition wins against nationally-ranked Yale and Vanderbilt on the road, they also upended Cornell, 10-9.

Sandy Bridgeman, now in her 12th year at the helm of the Wildcats, recorded her 100th victory as UNH head coach on March 5 with the 8-7 win at Yale University. Bridgeman, a three-time America East Coach of the Year, is the program’s all-time leader in wins with 108. She recorded her 150th overall career victory Feb. 27 against Holy Cross.

    UNH slipped to #15 in this week’s IWLCA Poll after attaining its highest rank of 2008 one week ago. Prior to March 24, when New Hampshire entered the poll at #18, the Wildcats had not been nationally ranked since the first week of March in the 2005 season, when the ‘Cats were #14 in the IWLCA Poll.

The ‘Cats have a 2-1 record against nationally-ranked teams (all rankings as of date of game played) this season. They defeated Yale University (8-7) and Vanderbilt University (10-7) – both of whom were ranked #10 – on the road and lost at home to 20th-ranked Dartmouth College, 14-10.

    New Hampshire entered this week’s action ranked No. 5 in the nation in defense by yielding a paltry 7.17 goals per game (84 teams ranked). The Wildcats are also eighth in scoring margin (+5.08), sixth in winning percentage (.833) and 31st in offense (12.25). Senior goalkeeper Ashley Milley entered the week at No. 6 in goals-against-average and No. 12 in save percentage and junior midfielder Michaela Hardy is 19th in caused turnovers.

    New Hampshire entered the week as the America East leader (seven league teams) in defense at 7.17 goals allowed per game as well as second in save percentage. The Wildcats ranked third in offense, second in (fewest) turnovers, fourth in both shots and shooting percentage, sixth in ground balls and last in draw controls.

In the individual rankings, Ashley Milley led the conference in goals-against-average and ranked second in save percentage. Michaela Hardy is the league leader in caused turnovers as well as fifth in goals per game and ninth in points per game. Other UNH among the America East leaders are Allie Duclos (fourth in draw controls) and Ashley Durepo (ninth in assists).

    Junior midfielder Michaela Hardy is having a breakout year.  Hardy, who entered 2008 with career totals of 24 goals and four assists for 28 points, has already eclipsed those numbers as the team leader in goals (35) and points (40). She is also the team leader in caused turnovers (23) and is tied for fifth in ground balls (17).

Hardy has scored at least one goal in 12 of 13 games this season – she was held off the scoresheet vs. Dartmouth on March 2 – and takes a 10-game point-scoring streak into Saturday’s game at Boston University with 31-4-35 in that span.

She has 10 multiple-point games, including each of the last eight, and has scored a goal every game during her current 10-game point-scoring streak.

Hardy’s season highlights include a personal-best seven goals (and seven points) April 5 at Stony Brook. She also tallied six goals (and six points) March 12 vs. Harvard University and followed that game with a two-goal, two-assist effort at Vanderbilt and the two assists marked a career high.

Also of note, Hardy recorded her 50th career point with the second of her three goals March 22 vs. UMBC and her 50th career goal with the last of her three vs. Binghamton on March 29.

    It took just nine games for seven UNH Wildcats to reach double digits in goals. Now 13 games into the season, Michaela Hardy leads the ‘Cats with 35 goals – in ‘07, the overall team high was 29 goals by Sarah Von Bargen and a total of seven players attained double figures in goals.

The other six Wildcats have scored between 16-21 goals. Sarah Von Bargen leads that sextet and is followed by Shaunna Kaplan and Susie Piotrkowski, who have 20 apiece. Ashley Durepo (18 goals) is followed by Ashley Crook and Moira Talbot, both of whom have 16.
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