Women's Lax Welcomes #19 UMass for March 2 Home Opener


The Matchup

    The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team plays its 2011 home opener March 2 against 19th-ranked University of Massachusetts. Game time at Memorial Field is 4 p.m.
    UNH has a 21-15-3 overall record, including last year's 11-8 come-from-behind road victory, against UMass. The Wildcats have won each of the last five meetings dating back to the Minutewomen's 12-11 win  in March 2005 (at Memorial Field) and the 'Cats are 8-2 in the last 10 meetings. Both of UMass' wins in that stretch were one-goal victories at Memorial Field.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire opened the 2011 season with an 8-5 road victory against Holy Cross on Wednesday. It marked the third consecutive year the Wildcats opened with a win. The 'Cats began both the '09 and '10 seasons at 2-0.
    The 27 ground balls at 14th-ranked Dartmouth (Feb. 26) was the highest total by a UNH team since April 11, 2009, when the 'Cats had 27 ground balls vs. Le Moyne.
    The five goals scored by Holy Cross (Feb. 23) marked the lowest output by a UNH opponent since the 'Cats limited the Crusaders to four goals almost one year earlier in a 10-4 win Feb. 24, 2010. And it marked the lowest goal total UNH allowed in a road game since Feb. 25, 2009 (19-4 win at Holy Cross).
    Prior to the 2011 season opener, the last time UNH scored in single figures and won a game was Feb. 27, 2010 (9-8 vs. Dartmouth). And the last time UNH scored eight (or fewer) goals in victory was March 5, 2008 at Yale (8-7).
    Wednesday's win at Holy Cross marked the third consecutive year UNH was victorious in its first road game. The 'Cats prevailed 11-8 at UMass last season and 19-4 at Holy Cross in '09.

'Cat Nips
    Kate Keagins extended her point-scoring streak to 11 games with an assist Saturday against 14th-ranked Dartmouth. She recorded a career-high seven ground balls in that game vs. the Big Green.
    Ilana Cohen matched her career high of three goals at Dartmouth to extend her point-scoring streak to four games.
    Allie Duclos was credited with one ground ball Feb. 26 at Dartmouth – it was the 100th of her career. She is UNH's active leader in ground balls, draw controls (125) and caused turnovers (47).
    Kathleen O'Keefe made six saves for a .545 save percentage in the season opener against the Crusaders. She was also credited with two ground balls and one caused turnover.
    Ally Stager leads the team in ground balls (six) and draw controls (three); she is also second in caused turnovers (six). Stager tallied team highs in both ground balls (three) and caused turnovers (four) at Holy Cross. She finished with three GB, two CTO and two draw controls at Dartmouth.
    Hayley Rausch and Jenny Simpson both scored one goal in both games last week. Rausch has a 20-game point-scoring streak.

National Numbers
    New Hampshire enters this week's action ranked #8 nationally in defense, #9 in caused turnovers and #6 in ground balls. Three Wildcats are also among the national leaders. Kate Keagins is 10th in ground balls and 17th in caused turnovers; Ally Stager is #3 in caused turnovers and Kathleen O'Keefe is #12 in GAA.
    UMass is also among the top 20 in the nation in offense (#16) and draw controls (#19).

Conference Call
    A pair of 'Cats rank 1-2 in the America East conference in caused turnovers. Ally Stager leads the way at 3.00 per game and Kate Keagins is second at 2.50 per game.

And Then There Was One
    Allie Duclos, a three-time America East All-Conference First Team selection, is the only senior and is one of three captains (alongside juniors Ilana Cohen and Hayley Rausch) on the 2011 squad. A year ago, Duclos led the team in ground balls and draw controls; she also ranked second in caused turnovers as well as third in shooting percentage.

Take a Free Shot
    UNH scored on three of four free-position shots in the Feb. 23 season opener at Holy Cross and that included a perfect 3-for-3 in the first half. Last year, the Wildcats scored on 26 of 58 free-position shots (27.6% scoring percentage).
    Dartmouth went 0-for-3 on free positions following 3 of 8 by Holy Cross for a 27.3% success rate by the opposition. In 2010, the opposition finished 39-for-89 (43.8%).

Leaders of the 'Cat Pack
    Junior midfielders Ilana Cohen and Hayley Rausch captain the 2011 Wildcats (with senior midfielder Allie Duclos) and will be two of the team's top point producers.
    Cohen is a third-year starter who garnered America East All-Conference Second Team honors a year ago. She leads this year's team in goals (five) and matched her personal best of three goals last Saturday (Feb. 26) at 14th-ranked Dartmouth.
    Rausch, despite missing four games a year ago, ranked third on the team in both goals and points as well as fourth in assists. She scored a goal in this year's season opener at Holy Cross and tallied two points (1g, 1a) at Dartmouth to extend her point-scoring streak to 20 games (dating back to her freshman season of '09).

Fielding Grounders
    New Hampshire tallied a 19-14 edge in ground balls, including 10-6 in the second half, vs. Holy Cross in the season opener. The Wildcats finished with 27 GBs at 14th-ranked Dartmouth.

What's Ours is Ours & What's Yours is Ours
    The Wildcats committed fewer turnovers than Holy Cross by a margin of 15-18. UNH had an 84.2% clear percentage with 16 good clears in 19 attempts. The 'Cats were perfect (8-for-8) in the second half.
    New Hampshire also committed fewer turnovers that Dartmouth by a margin of 25-26.
    In 2010, UNH committed more turnovers than the opponent just five times in 17 games.

Rookies No More
    The sophomore class comprises one-third of the roster and four of those seven players – Amber Casiano, Kathleen O'Keefe, Jenny Simpson and Ally Stager – were named to the 2010 America East All-Rookie Team.
    Casiano ranked second among last year's UNH rookies in both goals (10) and points (12) and the midfielder, who was in the starting lineup 12 times as a rookie, has started both games this season.
    O'Keefe emerged as the starting goalie in the latter half of the 2010 season. She played in 12 games (10 starts) and went 5-6 with an 11.08 GAA and .408 save percentage. O'Keefe has proven to be the top goalie early on in 2011, as she has played all 120 minutes in two games.
    Simpson was the top point producer of last year's freshman class as she finished with 25 points on 18 goals and seven assists. She tallied a point in 11 of 15 games and that included a nine-game point-scoring streak. Simpson has carried that consistency into 2011 – she has scored a goal in both games.
    Stager was the only freshman to play in all 17 games a year ago and she ranked third on the team in draw controls. She recorded a ground ball in 11 of 17 games with six multiple-GB efforts and also tallied a draw control in 11 of 17 games.
    Doyle played in 16 of 17 games a year ago and was in the starting lineup 15 times. She made an immediate impact on defense and will continue to grow as a vital part of the defensive unit this season.
    Cyester saw limited action (six games; one start) in 2010. She did not see game action in the opening week of the '11 season.
    Kleinendorst joined the team as a walk-on following the conclusion of the 2010 UNH women's ice hockey season. She played in four games and is once again joining the lax squad following the hockey season.

It's a Draw
    Draw controls have not been one of UNH's strengths this season. Holy Cross recorded a 12-3 advantage in the season opener and Dartmouth finished with an 11-5 edge in that statistic.

Home Field Advantage
    UNH had a 6-2 overall record at Memorial Field in 2010 and that included a 4-1 mark against non-conference teams.

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