ALBANY, N.Y. – Kate Keagins (Bayshore, N.Y.) scored a career-high six goals, including the game-tying goal that send the game into overtime, for the 13th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team, but the University at Albany prevailed 16-15 in OT in Saturday afternoon’s America East league opener for both teams at John Fallon Field.
UNH is now 6-3 overall, 0-1 in America East and 3-3 on the road. This was the home opener for Albany, which improved to 3-5 with its first win vs. the Wildcats in 11 lifetime meetings.
With the scored tied, 14-14, at the end of regulation, UNH’s Keagins won the opening draw in the first half of the six-minute extra session. Susie Piotrkowski (North Franklin, Conn.) was awarded a free position and fired wide of the far post from the right side. The Wildcats maintained possession and Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) also earned a free position that was stopped by Albany goalkeeper Katie Neer.
Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) caused a turnover to give possession back to New Hampshire with 1:35 left on the clock and Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) missed just wide of the cage on a one-timer from the right doorstep. UNH momentarily retained possession until 40 seconds was left on the clock, and Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.) collected a loose ball in midfield to give the ‘Cats back the ball with 20 to go. Kaplan was awarded possession on a restart with 1.6 seconds to play, but her shot from 10 meters to the upper-right corner was snared by Neer.
Albany controlled the opening draw of the second half of the extra session and Rory Redmond, from high in the attacking zone, connected with Melanie Sosnowski in the middle of the fan and she placed a shot into the upper-right corner at 2:23.
UNH’s Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) controlled the ensuing draw control and quickly moved the ball to Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.), who raced from midfield down the right wing. Hardy found Kaplan alone deep on the left side and her tally leveled the score, 15-15, at 2:05.
The Great Danes won the next draw control, and Mel Rorie drove from the top of the fan down the right side and fired a shot inside the right post to give the home team a 16-15 lead at 1:11.
Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) controlled the ensuing draw and Von Bargen was awarded a free position with 28.1 seconds to play. Her shot was stopped by Neer, and the Great Danes, who were just 7-for-17 on clear attempts in the game – including 3 of 11 after the first half – maintained possession in the last 25 seconds to secure the victory.
In addition to Keagins, UNH’s attack was led by Von Bargen (4g, 1a) and Piotrkowski (1g, 3a). Starting goalie Nikki Hume (North Hampton, N.H.) played the initial 10:39 of the game and exited with the Wildcats trailing 6-0. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) went the rest of the way and surrendered 10 goals in 55:21.
A trio of Wildcats attained personal milestones on the day. Von Bargen became the fifth UNH player to reach the 150-goal benchmark with the first of her four vs. Albany, and she now has 153 in her career. She also climbed into a tie for fifth place on the program’s all-time points list with the last of her five points (153-26-179).
Hardy recorded her 100th career point Saturday. Hardy entered the game with 99 points and reached the milestone with that overtime assist; she now has 87 goals and 13 assists for 100 points.
Also of note, Piotrkowski recorded her 50th career point when she tallied her second point of the day, an assist on the goal that pulled UNH within 10-5 late in the first half.
Neer finished the game with 15 saves, including three in the six-minute overtime session. The UA attack was led by Kayla Best (3g, 4a), Rorie (4g), Rory Redmond (3g, 1a) and Jodi Battaglia (3g).
Albany scored three quick goals en route to building a 10-0 advantage. Rorie netted an unassisted goal at 28:26 when she drove deep on the right wing a placed a shot in the upper-right corner. Best scored a free-position goal on a low shot from the top-right side of the fan at 27:53, then Battaglia corralled a loosed ball in front of the UNH cage and scored on a high shot at 26:54.
That prompted New Hampshire to call time out, but the Great Danes continued to win possession on the draw controls. UNH made a stop, but Best quickly gained the ball back for Albany and she passed the ball low on the left side to Julie Bush for a score at 25:54.
In the ninth minute, Duclos beat Neer on a free position shot from the top of the fan, but the ball ricocheted off the crossbar .
The Great Danes extended the lead to 5-0 at 20:10 when Best connected with Rorie cutting down the middle of the fan. Forty-nine seconds later, Best scored on a drive from the top of the fan to put the home team ahead 6-0.
In the next four minutes, UNH had one free-position shot carom off a post and another stopped by Neer. UA then pushed the advantage to 7-0 at 13:33 off a Wildcat turnover in the defensive zone in which Best gathered the loose ball and found Battaglia on the left wing.
UNH called its second timeout at that point, but Best scored a free-position goal on a low shot from the left wing at 11:11, then Battaglia struck again at 9:57 and Taylor Frink scored at 7:42 to give Albany a 10-0 lead.
New Hampshire began to seize momentum at 4:55 when Allie Bratton (Windermere, Fla.) netted a free-position goal from the left side with a shot into the upper-left corner of the net.
Albany controlled the next draw, but Kaplan’s caused turnover gave possession to UNH and Von Bargen scored her 150th goal by maneuvering under a defender on the left wing and scoring from the top of the crease at 2:46.
The ‘Cats won the next draw and Keagins scored 18 seconds later with a drive down the middle of the fan to trim the deficit to 10-3. New Hampshire continued to build momentum off the next draw, and then Piotrkowski gathered a loose ball in the middle of the fan and fired a high shot into the open net at 1:47.
New Hampshire pulled within 10-5 just 22 seconds later when Piotrkowski, from behind the net, connected with Keagins cutting across the fan towards the right post and placed a shot inside the near post.
Albany took that 10-5 lead into halftime and extended it to 12-5 on goals by Redmond at 29:05 and 26:32.
UNH responded with a Keagins’ goal – off a Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) pass – at 24:42 and then another by Von Bargen at the left post off a feed from Piotrkowski at 22:01.
Rausch then scored in a 1-v-1 move in which she drove down the center of the fan and fired a high shot inside the left post at 16:41 to make the score 12-8.
Redmond’s third goal of the game push Albany’s lead to 13-8 at 13:51, but the ‘Cats scored the next four goals to pull within 13-12. Piotrkowski, from behind the left post, connected with Keagins low on the opposite side at 13:19, then Kaplan netted a free-position goal at 12:01.
Keagins then one-timed a rebound from close range into an open net to lift the ‘Cats within 13-11 at 7:50 and Von Bargen, on a shot into the upper-left corner from the top of the fan on a free position, made it a one-goal game at 7:01.
Albany’s Rorie ended the four-goal run with a free-position goal at 3:20, but Von Bargen answered with a goal on a free-position shot at 2:22 to once again pull UNH within one goal, 14-13.
Von Bargen won a race to a loose ball at midfield with 1:40 to play and she advanced down the right wing. She then passed the ball across the fan to Keagins, who scored from close range at 1:32 to tie the score.
UNH won the ensuing draw control, but in the final 35 seconds the ‘Cats recorded a shot high and another that was stopped by Neer.
New Hampshire returns to action March 28 at home against Stony Brook University. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.