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The University of New Hampshire (11-6 overall, 4-2 America East), tied for 17th in the Inside Lacrosse Poll, begins 2009 postseason play April 30 with a semifinal matchup against the University at Albany (9-7, 4-2) in the America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship. Game time at Boston University’s Nickerson Field is 3:30 p.m.
Tickets, available day of games, are $8 for adults, $5 for youth under 14 and $2 for all America East students with valid school ID. Live stats will be available for all three games, while the championship contest on Saturday will be streamed live at the America East Zone in partnership with Pack Network.
UNH has a 10-1 lifetime record, including this year’s 16-15 overtime road loss, against Albany. The Wildcats are 2-0 in postseason play vs. the Great Danes, and that includes the only neutral-site game between these programs – the 2005 America East semifinals in which the ‘Cats prevailed 14-6 at BU’s Nickerson Field (the site of this year’s game). UNH also defeated UA, 19-6, in the ‘04 league semifinals on its home field.
Prior to this season, Albany scored 10+ goals vs. the Wildcats just once in 10 games – and that was 10 in 2006.
In this year’s game, Albany held (then #13) New Hampshire scoreless for 25 minutes in building a 10-0 lead. The Wildcats closed the first half with a flurry of five goals in a span of 3:29 to pull within 10-5 at halftime. UA struck twice to open the second-half scoring and extend its advantage to 12-5. The ‘Cats responded with a 7-1 run to close within 13-12 with seven minutes remaining in regulation. After the Great Danes inched further ahead, 14-12, Sarah Von Bargen scored at 2:22 and Kate Keagins scored her sixth goal of the game to level the score at 14 with 1:32 on the clock.
Neither team scored in the initial three-minute overtime half, then Albany regained the lead at 2:23. Shaunna Kaplan scored just 18 seconds later, but Mel Rorie scored the game-winning goal at 1:11.
UNH finished with the edge in both shots (50-19) and ground balls (28-21) – and also committed fewer turnovers (26-9) – but Albany recorded the win, the program’s first versus UNH and a top-20 team.
THE PLAYOFF PICTURE IS DEVELOPED
The University of New Hampshire tied for second with the University at Albany in the America East final league standings. Albany, by virtue of its 16-15 overtime win on March 21, is the second seed and UNH is the third seed. The teams square off in the nightcap of the 2009 America East Women’s Lacrosse Championship semifinals on April 30 (3:30 p.m.).
Boston University (13-3) went unbeaten in league play to earn the top seed and will play the University of Vermont (9-7) in the other semifinal (1 p.m.). The Catamounts tied with UMBC for fourth place in the league standings at 3-3 and won the tiebreaker with its victory vs. the Retrievers.
The semifinal winners will play in the May 2 championships game, which will begin at 1 p.m. All three tournament games will be played at Boston University’s Nickerson Field.
The America East tournament champion advances to the NCAA Tournament.
THE STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
New Hampshire secured a berth in the 2009 America East Championship tournament with a 17-4 victory against Vermont on April 18 to extend its league record for consecutive tourney appearances to 12.
The Wildcats carry a three-game winning streak into postseason play following a 21-9 win a Binghamton in the April 25 regular-season finale. The 21 goal output matched UNH’s highest of the season (previously March 28 vs. Stony Brook).
UNH won its 10th game of the season with that April 18 victory against Vermont. It is the second consecutive year and fifth time in the last six years that the Wildcats have reached double digits in wins.
In 17 regular-season games, UNH recorded 309 shots in the first half alone. In comparison, the opposition tallied a total of 311 shots.
In early April, UNH had an 11-day stretch in which it played five games. That gauntlet run spanned April 1-11 and included three games vs. nationally-ranked teams; the ‘Cats lost those games to Boston University, Cornell and Vanderbilt, and they defeated both UMBC and Le Moyne.
New Hampshire alternated wins and losses in an eight-game stretch from March 11 to April 6.
UNH IN POSTSEASON PLAY
New Hampshire has a 35-28-1 overall record in the postseason, and that includes a 7-10 mark in the America East tournament. UNH is 6-5 in semifinal games, but the Wildcats have been victorious in six of their last seven semifinals (including two wins vs. Albany).
The ‘Cats have a 22-13-1 overall record, including 3-4 in the America East tourney, in neutral-site postseason games. Of those seven America East postseason games, six were in the semifinals; UNH went 3-3 in those matchups. Since 2003, however, the Wildcats are 3-1 in neutral-site semifinals.
New Hampshire has advanced to the America East championship game six of the last seven years – 2007 was the only exception in that span from 2002-08. UNH won the league tourney title in 2004.
Shaunna Kaplan recorded career highs in both assists (five) and points (eight) in the April 25 regular-season finale at Binghamton.
Also in that game, Hayley Rausch tallied a personal-best four points by matching her career high of three goals with one assist.
Ashley Durepo scored a career-high five goals April 18 vs. Vermont.
In 14 games, Allie Duclos has led the team (outright or tied) in ground balls seven times and draw controls nine times. She has led the team in both GB and DC six times, including consecutive league games against Albany and Stony Brook.
Kate Gunts started the season opener in goal but that was her only start through nine games – she made six other appearances in that span. Gunts returned to the starting lineup March 28 against Stony Brook and has now started eight consecutive games. Her streak of consecutive minutes ended at 496 when she exited the regular-season finale at halftime.
Seven UNH Wildcats started all 17 regular-season games and four ‘Cats are averaging at least one goal per game this season.
The teams are not the same, but the story lines of the 2008 and 2009 semifinal matchups are quite similar.
In 2009, New Hampshire is the third seed and plays second-seeded Albany, a team that UNH historically had success against (the Wildcats won all 10 meetings prior to 2009). This year, however, the Great Danes won by one goal –16-15 in overtime – on their home field.
In 2008, third-seeded UNH played Vermont in an America East semifinal matchup. The Wildcats had entered the 2008 with 13 consecutive wins against the Catamounts, but UVM recorded a one-goal victory (8-7) on its home turf in the regular season.
New Hampshire prevailed convincingly, 15-6, in the postseason matchup to advance to the championship game. Will the 2009 story line continue to parallel that of ‘08 Thursday vs. Albany?