March 16, 2011

Game Notes: Women's Lacrosse Travels South to Battle Vanderbilt, Presbyterian

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JoJo CURRO

The Matchups
    The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team travels south to battle 12th-ranked Vanderbilt University (March 16) and Presbyterian College (March 18) to end a stretch of four games in four cities in six days.
    There will be free videostreaming and live stats for the Vandy game.
    UNH has a 3-9 lifetime record, including an 11-7 home loss in 2009, against Vanderbilt. The Wildcats have a 1-5 road record in this series, but did prevail 10-7 in their most recent to the Vanderbilt Lacrosse Complex in 2008. These teams met annually from 1998 to 2009.
    Friday's game will be the first meeting between the New Hampshire and Presbyterian women's lacrosse programs.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire continues its stretch of four games in six days Wednesday evening at 12th-ranked Vanderbilt and closes it out Friday against Presbyterian College (at Frank Fillman Football Stadium; Lassiter High School; Marietta, Ga.).
    The Wildcats are 3-1 on the road this season, and Friday's game will be the team's first neutral-site game.
    UNH won its third consecutive game with Monday's 11-8 victory at home against George Mason. New Hampshire tallied more shots each half (16-15) than the Patriots did the entire game (14).
    After scoring single digits the initial three games of the season, UNH has scored double figures each of the last three games (including a season-high 17 at Colgate on March 5).
    UNH had three assists in the first three games and 31 in the next three games.
    The 'Cats have been a level-playing team this season. At least a glance at the stats would make you believe that. The Wildcats half-by-half splits include 28-29 in goals and 52-57 in shots.

'Cat Nips
    Ilana Cohen recorded a career-high five points with two goals and three assists at Fairfield (March 12).
    Kate Keagins tallied season highs in both assists (three) and points (six) at Fairfield. Keagins recorded 10 of the team's 31 shots against George Mason (March 14).
    Jenny Simpson netted a season-high four goals at Fairfield.
    In her first career start of the season, Kate Gunts made six saves – all in the first half – and a game-high five ground balls at Fairfield.

What Just Happened
    Four Wildcats scored two goals apiece as a balanced attack and stifling defense led UNH to an 11-8 victory against George Mason at Memorial Field on March 14.
    Amber Casiano, JoJo Curro and Kate Keagins each recorded two goals and an assist and Ally Stager finished two goals. Ilana Cohen also finished with multiple points (1g, 1a).
    UNH trailed 3-2 but scored three consecutive goals and took a 5-4 lead into halftime. The Patriots never pulled even in the second half.
    UNH recorded a season-high 31 shots and allowed a season-low 14 shots.

Conference Call
    New Hampshire entered the week (excludes Monday's game vs. George Mason) leading America East in caused turnovers per game (11.60), ranked second in ground balls (18.40) and third in defense (9.00 goals allowed per game).
    Kate Keagins sits atop the league leaderboard in both ground balls (3.40 per game) and caused turnovers (2.40 per game); she is also fifth in assists per game (1.20).
    Ilana Cohen is also on three lists – goals/game (#6; 2.20), points/game (#7; 3.20) and assists/game (#7; 1.00).
    Two other Wildcats are among the top five in caused turnovers with Ally Stager at #2 (1.80) and Allie Duclos at #4 (1.60).

Fielding Grounders
    New Hampshire has recorded more ground balls than the opposition in 5 of 6 games this season. The Wildcats 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 – it marked the highest total by a UNH team since April 11, 2009, when the 'Cats had 27 ground balls vs. Le Moyne – then tallied a 15-7 edge vs. 19th-ranked UMass.
    UNH has also tallied the edge in ground balls against Colgate (9-8), Fairfield (22-18) and George Mason (12-6).

What's Ours Is Ours & What's Yours Is Ours
    The Wildcats have committed fewer turnovers than the opponent all six games of the 2011 season (94-136 overall). Most recently (March 14), George Mason turned the ball over 19 times in comparison to UNH's 10, which marked a season low for the Wildcats.
    In the opener, UNH committed fewer turnovers than Holy Cross by a margin of 15-18. New Hampshire also committed fewer turnovers than Dartmouth (25-26), UMass (12-26), Colgate (14-23) and Fairfield (18-24).
    In 2010, UNH committed more turnovers than the opponent just five times in 17 games.

America East Player of the Game
    The America East conference is continuing its Player of the Game award in the 2011 season. A UNH player will be recognized following every league game and all home games. No Wildcat received the honor more than twice in the '10 season.
   March 2 vs. UMass–Ally Stager (1g, 2gb, 1cto)
   March 14 vs. George Mason– Ally Stager (2g, 3gb, 2cto, 2dc)

Scouting the Commodores
    Vanderbilt University (Nashville, Tenn.), ranked 12th in the most recent national poll, enters Wednesday's matchup with a 4-3 overall record (0-1 ALC) following a 14-12 loss at third-ranked Duke last Wednesday.
    The Commodores are led offensively by Courtney Kirk (13g, 13a) and Emily Franke (14g, 8a). Katherine Denkler (15g), Ally Carey (10g, 4a) and Hannah Clark (8g, 5a) have also reached double digits in points. In the national rankings, Kirk is 17th in assists per game while Carey is seventh in draw controls and 10th in ground balls.
    Natalie Wills has started all seven games in goal. She has a 4-3 record with a 10.12 GAA and .341 save percentage. In four games (76 of 420 minutes), Chelsea Pasfield has a 5.52 GAA and .500 save percentage.
    Vandy has been quick out of the gate this season. They have outscored the opposition 54-24 in the first half – with a 124-57 shot advantage – whereas the scoring is even (41-41) in the second half.

Scouting the Blue Hose
    Presbyterian College (Clinton, S.C.) will enter Friday's game vs. UNH with a 1-6 overall record that includes 0-2 at neutral sites. The Blue Hose have lost four straight since defeating Howard, 19-9, on Feb.. 26. In its most recent action, the Blue Hose lost 9-7 to LaSalle on March 9.
    Presbyterian has a balanced attack led by Katie Prisco (10g, 4a), Catherine Ellis (10g, 2a) and Shannon Hartford (10g, 2a). Ellis is ranked 20th in the nation in draw controls; she has 25 of the team's 77.
    Susan England is the team's top goalie and her statistics include a 15.46 GAA and .470 save percentage. She is ranked second in the nation in saves with 85. 

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