Game Notes: Women's Lacrosse Battles UMBC in America East Conference Opener



The Matchup
    The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team opens the America East portion of its 2011 schedule March 26 at UMBC. Game time at UMBC Stadium is noon.
    UNH has won all previous nine meetings against UMBC, and that includes last year's 16-8 win at home as well as an 11-8 victory in the most recent meeting at UMBC Stadium (April 2009).
    In fact, the Wildcats have not trailed in any of the past three meetings. The last time the Retrievers led the 'Cats was March 2007 at UMBC Stadium, when they took an 8-7 lead at 13:31 of the second half (UNH prevailed 10-9); UMBC also held leads of 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3 in that game.
    New Hampshire is 3-0 on the road in this series, which began in 1989 but did not resume until 2004.

The State of New Hampshire
    New Hampshire, which has won four of its last five games, plays its America East conference opener March 26 at UMBC. It is the third of four consecutive games away from Memorial Field for the Wildcats.
    The 20 goals scored vs. Presbyterian College on March 18 marked the highest UNH output since April 2009 (21-7 vs. Stony Brook) as well as the most goals scored away from home since April 2007 (22-5 vs. Binghamton) and the most against a non-league opponent since March 2006 (20-8 at Marist College).
    UNH has surrendered double-digit goals just three times in eight games and has not allowed more than 12 goals in any game. At the other end of the field, the offense produced double-digit goals four of the last five games and averaged 13.2 goals per game during those five game.

'Cat Nips
    Hayley Rausch scored her 50th career goal with a second-half goal March 18 against Presbyterian College.
    In three games last week, Amber Casiano led UNH's attack with 11 points (7g, 4a). Kate Keagins (6g, 2a) and JoJo Curro (3g, 5a) were next with eight points apiece. Keagins also contributed eight ground balls, five draw controls and eight caused turnovers. Allie Duclos also posted impressive numbers of 12 GB, five DC and eight CTO.
    Casiano tallied career highs in both goals (four) and points (six) vs. PC.
    Keagins extended her point-scoring streak to 16 games by tallying multiple points all three games last week; it is the longest active streak on the team.
    Curro matched her personal best of three assists against Presbyterian. She also scored a goal vs. the Blue Hose to finish with a season-high four points.
    Freshmen Sarah Campbell (3g, 1a), Cara Dowdle (1a) and Molly Gaffey (1g, 1a) all recorded their first career point March 18 against Presbyterian College.

What Just Happened
    UNH quickly built a 4-0 lead and extended that advantage to 11-1 at halftime en route to a 20-4 victory against Presbyterian College in a neutral-site game at Fillman Stadium (Marietta, Ga.).
    Amber Casiano led nine multiple-point scoring Wildcats with career highs in both goals (four) and points (six). JoJo Curro (1g, 3a) and Sarah Campbell (3g, 1a) were next with four points apiece.
    Kate Gunts made a season-high eight saves and held the Blue Hose scoreless for 38 minutes, 34 seconds spanning the first and second halves.
    New Hampshire recorded the statistical advantage in shots (38-16), ground balls (27-21), draw controls (14-13) and turnovers (16-28).

What's Next
    Following its trip to UMBC, the Wildcats return to action April 1 (7 p.m.) at Harvard University for one of their two remaining non-league games.

National Numbers
    Here is a comparison of how New Hampshire stacks up against UMBC (through March 20; 92 teams):
    UNH    UMBC
Offense    49 (10.38)    32 (12.25)
Defense    17 (8.50)    19 (8.63)
CTO    2 (12.00)    31 (8.75)
GB    18 (19.13)    67 (14.50)
DC    87 (9.13)    75 (10.13)
    Two Wildcats are among the top 25. Kate Keagins is sixth in caused turnovers (2.50 per game) as well as 20th in ground balls (3.13 per game), while Allie Duclos is 12th in caused turnovers (2.00). Also of note, Kathleen O'Keefe is 26th in goals-against-average and Ally Stager is 28th in caused turnovers.

Conference Call
    New Hampshire enters the weekend atop the America East rankings in ground balls (19.00 per game) and caused turnovers (12.00 per game). The Wildcats rank second in defense by yielding 8.50 goals per game.
    Kate Keagins sits atop the league leaderboard in both ground balls (3.12 per game) and caused turnovers (2.50 per game); she is also seventh in assists per game (1.00).
    Two other Wildcats are among the top four in caused turnovers with Allie Duclos at #2 (2.00) and Ally Stager at #5 (1.75). Duclos is also fourth in ground balls (2.75).

Fielding Grounders
    New Hampshire has recorded more ground balls than the opposition in 6 of 8 games – the only exceptions came against Dartmouth and Vanderbilt.
    The Wildcats finished with 27 GBs at 14th-ranked Dartmouth – it marked the highest total by a UNH team since April 11, 2009, and duplicated that total March 18 against Presbyterian College.. UNH also finished with 20+ ground balls vs. Fairfield (22) and Vanderbilt (21).

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 Retrievers
    The University of Maryland Baltimore County enters the weekend with a 6-3 overall record following Wednesday night's 15-8 home loss to sixth-ranked Loyola, which ended the Retrievers' three-game winning streak as well as their unbeaten mark at home (now 4-1) that included a win against nationally-ranked Towson University.
    Five players account for 122 of the team's 149 points. Erika Braerman has a team-high 30 points (17g, 13 a) and is followed by Alicia Krause (17g, 9a), Amanda Pappas (21g, 4a), Emily Coady (13g, 8a) and Ashley Stodter (19g, 1a).
    Natalie Rau has played in all nine games with seven starts. She has a 5-1 record with a 9.14 GAA and .434 save percentage; she entered the week ranked #17 in GAA and #16 in save percentage.
    UMBC has outscored the opposition 56-36 in the first half (106-84 overall) with a 129-98 shot advantage (233-190 overall).

Common Ground
    New Hampshire and UMBC have played one common opponent – George Mason. UNH was an 11-8 victor March 14 at home and UMBC defeated Mason, 19-7, in its Feb. 11 season opener.

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