March 2, 2011

Women's Lacrosse Defeated by #19 UMass, 11-4

ALLY STAGER

DURHAM, N.H. – Katie Ferris recorded five points and Katie Florence made 16 saves to lead the 19th-ranked University of Massachusetts women's lacrosse team to Wednesday afternoon's 11-4 non-conference victory against the University of New Hampshire at Memorial Field.

UNH, which dropped its second consecutive game to a nationally-ranked team, is now 1-2. UMass, off to its best start in 25 years, ended a five-game losing streak in the series vs. the Wildcats to remain unbeaten at 5-0.

Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) led UNH's attack with a goal and an assist. Starting goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) was charged with the loss as she surrendered eight goals in 42 mintues, 54 seconds; she was credited with three saves. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.), in her first action of the season, played the final 17:06 and did not make a save.

Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.) was named UNH's America East Player of the Game. She finished with one goal on one shot, two ground balls and one caused turnover.

Ferris finished the game with four goals and an assist for the Minutewomen. Jackie Lyons (3g, 1a) and Nina Sarcona (3g) also had multiple points for the visitors.

UMass scored the first three goals of the game and New Hampshire never leveled the score thereafter. The teams went scoreless for more than 10 minutes before Lyons scored at 18:17 on a high shot at the left doorstep.

UNH called time out at 16:37, but the Minutewomen struck at 15:07 when Sarcona converted a pass from Ferris into a goal and again at 13:20 when Lyons found Ali Houlis cutting down the right side of the fan.

The 'Cats finally beat Florence – she stopped the initial seven shots on goal – to pull within 3-1 at 9:15. At the top-right of the fan, Cohen hit Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) in the middle and she fired a high shot into the cage to extend her point-scoring streak to 21 games.

UMass responded one minute later, however, when Lyons rolled behind the net to the left post and scored on a high shot. New Hampshire would not get closer than three goals the rest of the way.

Ferris extended the advantage to 5-1 at 9:15. Her shot at the right doorstep deflected off O'Keefe, continued towards the goal line and crossed the line despite O'Keefe's diving effort.

Cohen netted her team-leading sixth goal of the season at 5:02 when she caught a pass from behind the net on the left wing, dodged a defender and fired a shot into the netting.

Sarcona scored on a free-position shot – a low shot from the top of the fan – with 10 seconds remaining in the first half to give UMass a 6-2 lead heading into halftime.

Just as they had done in the first half, the visitors scored the first three goals of the second half to build a 9-2 lead. Ferris struck back-to-back at 21:49 and 19:55, then Lyons netted a free-position goal at 15:29 to prompt a UNH timeout.

A caused turnover by Erin Levesque (Duxbury, Mass.) led to UNH's third goal of the game. The Wildcats cleared the ball the length of the field and, after a patient setup, Stager attacked from the top of the fan and scored on a shot inside the right post at 12:00.

The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to 9-4 at 8:58 when Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) split a double team at the top-left side of the fan and scored on a low shot. Keagins was also credited with three caused turnovers and two ground balls.

UNH's Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) gained possession on the ensuing draw control, but Florence quelled the momentum swing and preserved the Minutewomen's five-goal lead when she denied Cohen with 8:21 on the clock.

Ferris then netted her fourth goal of the game at 5:45 as she charged down the left wing against two defenders – as well as Gunts in goal – and her shot trickled into the goal.

UMass won the ensuing draw and Sarcona scored at 5:14 to close the scoring, 11-4.

Florence made one more save the rest of the way as she denied Meghan Bridges (Sandy Hook, Conn.) on a free-position shot with 16 seconds on the clock.

UNH finished with the edge in both shots (21-19) and ground balls (15-7), and the 'Cats committed fewer turnovers (12-26). UMass had a 13-4 advantage in draw controls and was whistled for fewer fouls (12-4).

New Hampshire returns to action March 5 (1 p.m.) at Colgate University. The Wildcats' next home game is March 14 against George Mason. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.

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