DURHAM, N.H. – Senior midfielder Ashley Durepo (Concord, N.H.) scored a career-high five goals as part of a six-point performance – and senior midfielder Michaela Hardy (Reading, Mass.) scored her 100th career goal – to lead the 19th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to a 17-4 victory against the University of Vermont in Saturday afternoon’s America East game at Memorial Field that marked Senior Day for the UNH Wildcats.
UNH won its second consecutive game to improve to 10-6 overall and 3-2 in America East. The Wildcats, who have recorded 10+ wins five of the last six seasons, now control their own destiny for a league postseason berth; they will secure a spot with a win in the April 25 regular-season finale at Binghamton University.
Vermont is now 7-7 overall, 2-3 in America East and 0-3 in the month of April.
UNH scored three goals in a three-minute span to quickly build a 3-0 lead, extended its advantage to 6-1 and took a 9-2 lead into halftime. UVM struck twice in the opening 1:36 of the second half to pull within 9-4, but the visitors did not score again the rest of the game.
Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) made five saves and held UVM scoreless for the last 28 minutes of the game. Catamounts counterpart Olivia Hatfield stopped 14 shots, including eight in the second half.
New Hampshire’s six-member senior class compiled totals of 12 goals, one assist, 15 ground balls, eight caused turnovers and four draw controls. The rest of the team tallied five goals, four assists, five caused turnovers and eight draw controls.
In addition to the six points, Durepo was credited with four ground balls. Hardy finished with three goals, three ground balls, two caused turnovers and one draw control. Sarah Von Bargen (East Setauket, N.Y.) also scored three times and was credited with three CTO, two GB and two DC.
Defensively, Kelli LaPerch (Brewster, N.Y.) had four ground balls and one caused turnover, and she also scored her second career goal. Beth Stankus (Derry, N.H.) finished with a pair of CTO and one GB while Beth Sabiston (Bay Shore, N.Y.) tallied one ground ball.
The Wildcats received solid contributions from its non-seniors as well. Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) matched her career high of five points with three goals and two assists. Also of note, Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) finished with one goal, one assist, three GB, one DC and one CTO while Susie Piotrkowski (Franklin, Conn.) had one assist, three ground balls and one caused turnover.
Durepo opened the game scoring at 25:46 of the first half with a drive on the right side and a low shot inside the near post. Hardy scored 61 seconds later on a carbon copy play to record her 100th career goal, and then Durepo struck again on a free position at 22:33 when she drove from the top-left to the middle and shot back across into the upper-left corner of the net.
Vermont answered less than a minute later. Kristen Millar, along the goal line on the right wing, hit Sara Buxton cutting from the opposite wing to the middle and Buxon fired a shot into the upper-left corner of the goal at 21:40.
The Wildcats immediately regained momentum, however, on Durepo’s third goal of the game. On a free position from the top of the fan, she drove down the middle and place a shot inside the right post at 20:25. Durepo netted her fourth of the game at 16:01 on another right-wing drive and low shot inside the near post.
UVM called time out at that point, but that did not slow UNH’s attack. LaPerch carried the ball into the offensive zone and passed it to Piotrkowski behind the net. Instead of retreating back to midfield, LaPerch cut to the net and one-timed Piotrkowski’s pass on the right doorstep into the upper-right corner for a 6-1 lead at 14:56.
Sarah DeStefano trimmed the Catamounts’ deficit to 6-2 at 9:34 when she cut from the top-left side to the right wing to elude the defense and score.
New Hampshire responded with goals at 8:48 and 7:38 to build an 8-2 advantage. From behind the net, Kaplan hit Cohen cutting from left to right and she scored from close range. Cohen set up the next goal with a pass to Hardy, who quickly moved to the top of the fan and scored her second goal of the game.
The duo of Durepo and Kaplan combined to close the first-half scoring at 5:49. Durepo, with possession on the left wing, centered the ball down low to Kaplan, who caught the ball with her back to the net and side-armed a shot inside the right post.
UNH carried a 9-2 lead into halftime with advantages in shots (17-5), ground balls (12-8) and draw controls (10-2).
Vermont made an early push in the second half. The Catamounts controlled the opening draw and Samantha Stern netted an unassisted goal at 28:46 to lift the visitors within 9-3. Millar gained possession on the ensuing draw and eventually found Buxton at the restraining line. Buxton quickly moved the ball to Stern, who was unmarked in the middle of the fan. Her shot inside the right post marked her second goal in 22 seconds.
UVM also gained possession on the next draw control, but Cohen forced a turnover and LaPerch gathered the ground ball to give the ball to UNH. Kaplan, again from behind the net on the left side, found Von Bargen cutting from the middle to the right post and she one-timed a shot into the upper-right corner at 27:20.
Von Bargen struck again at 22:02 to extend New Hampshire’s lead to 11-4. On a free position from the top-right, she fired a sidearm shot into the upper-left corner.
Kaplan, on the left wing, pumped as if to shoot and then raced past the defender to the middle of the fan before beating Hatfield for her second goal of the game at 18:44. On the ensuing draw, Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) corralled the ball and raced down the middle unchallenged to score at 18:36.
Hardy’s third goal of the game extended the lead to double digits, 14-4 at 15:03 and Durepo potted her last of the day at 9:20 on another drive from the right side.
Von Bargen, on a re-start from the top-left, sidearmed a shot under the crossbar at 5:51 and Kaplan closed the scoring at 4:05 when she rolled from behind the net at the right post across the fan to the left post and shot into the open left side.
Von Bargen now has 55 goals this season, which ranks sixth on UNH’s list of single-season superlatives. Piotrkowski increased her assist total to 23, which is tied for eighth on the program’s single-season leaderboard.
UNH ended the game with advantages in shots (34-13), ground balls (25-16) and draw controls (12-11). The Wildcats also committed fewer turnovers (19-26).