BRATTON, KAPLAN SCORE THREE GOALS APIECE TO LIFT #19 WOMEN'S LAX PAST UMASS, 11-8

ALLIE BRATTON
JESS CASSOTIS

AMHERST, Mass.Allie Bratton (Windermere, Fla.) and Shaunna Kaplan (Framingham, Mass.) scored three goals apiece to lead the 19th-ranked University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team to a 11-8 victory against the University of Massachusetts in Wednesday afternoon’s non-conference action at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

New Hampshire, which outscored the hosts 7-2 in the second half to overcome a two-goal halftime deficit, improves to 3-0 while UMass is now 2-3.

Kaplan also had an assist to finish with a game-high four points while Bratton, the America East Player of the Game, contributed five draw controls in addition to the three goals. Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.; 2g,1a), Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.; 2g) and Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.; 1g, 1a) also finished with multiple points for the Wildcats.

Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) made four saves and held the Minutewomen scoreless for the initial 25:25 of the second half. Jess Cassotis (York, Maine) finished the game with three ground balls, two draw controls and three caused turnovers.

UMass goalie Katie Florence was credited with nine saves. Jackie Lyons, Danielle Pelletier and Jesse O’Donnell each tallied two goals.

UNH erased a 6-4 halftime deficit with a five-goal run to start the second half. Bratton began the rally with 25 seconds elapsed. She won an extended battle for the draw control, then raced down the right sideline and attacked the goal before firing a shot inside the near post from seven yards out.

The ‘Cats pulled into a 6-6 tie – the only previous tie was at 2 – at 24:10. Jo Jo Curro (Amherst, N.H.) forced a turnover 20 yards from the UMass goal, collected the ground ball and lofted a pass ahead to Kaplan for a 1-on-1 break against Florence. Kaplan raced down the center of the fan and, following a stutter-step to slow the pace, fired high into the goal.

Bratton’s third goal of the game gave UNH its first lead, 7-6 at 19:33. She was awarded a free position at the top of the fan on which she drove towards the goal and placed a shot inside the right post.

Bratton nearly gave the ‘Cats a two-goal lead midway through the half, but her low shot on a right-wing free position bounced off the turf and caromed off the right post.

Duclos extended UNH’s advantage to 8-6 on a free-position goal at 14:23. From the top-left, she took one step and side-armed a hard shot inside the right post.

UMass called time out at that point, but the Wildcats expanded the cushion to 9-6 at 11:03. Following a patient attack in which the ‘Cats cycled the ball on the left wing, Keagins lofted a pass to the front of the net. Duclos fended off Florence to corrall the pass and then shot high into the cage; it marked Keagins’ first career assist.

The Minutewomen trimmed the deficit to 9-7 at 4:35 when Lyons curled from behind the net to the left post and shot low to beat Gunts.

UNH responded with a goal off the ensuing draw control. Keagins was awarded possession and off the restart she found Rausch on the right wing to generate a 2-on-1 rush with Kaplan. Rausch quickly centered to Kaplan to give the ‘Cats a 10-7 lead at 4:20.

UMass set up possession behind the net with Lyons. She once again curled out towards the left post, but this time Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.) forced a turnover to give New Hampshire possession with 2:26 remaining.

The Wildcats went into a spread attack to preserve its three-goal lead and Florence left the cage unattended in an attempt to generate defensive pressure. Kaplan drove from the left wing towards the open net and scored from seven yards out to give UNH an 11-7 lead with 1:25 to play.

O’Donnell scored with 1:00 remaining to close the scoring, as the Wildcats gained control off the draw control and maintained possession the rest of the way.

The Minutewomen netted goals less than one minute apart – at 28:24 and 27:31 of the first half – to take an early 2-0 lead. Haley Smith opened the scoring when she drove the right wing a fired a high shot inside the near post. Jackie Lyons extended the lead to two goals as she curled from behind the net to the right post and continued to the front doorstep before shooting high into the cage.

UNH responded with goals 61 seconds apart to tie the score, 2-2. Rausch cut through the fan, caught Kaplan’s pass from behind the net and scored from close range at 26:04. Keagins leveled the score on a free-position goal from the left wing at 25:03.

UMass then scored three goals in a span of 65 seconds to build a 5-2 lead. O’Donnell broke the 2-2 tie at 23:26 and Cosgrove scored 31 seconds later to extend the advantage to 4-2. Pelletier netted a free-position goal at 22:21 to close the spurt.

The Wildcats called a timeout at that point and Rausch converted a free position on the right wing into a goal at 17:15 to lift UNH within 5-3. Bratton trimmed the margin to one goal at 9:25 when she caught the ball at the top-left of the fan, charged the net and scored on a shot near side.

Pelletier, driving down the center of the fan, converted Lauren Terracciano’s pass into a goal at 2:30 to give UMass a 6-4 lead heading into the half.

UNH finished with a 23-20 shot advantage, including 14-6 in the second half. The Wildcats also had the edge in ground balls (12-6). The ‘Cats won 7 of 10 draw controls in the second half, mostly off the stick of Keagins, to help spark the comeback.

New Hampshire returns to action March 6 at home against Colgate University. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.

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