April 23, 2011

Simpson Scores Three Goals, Women's Lax Edged 8-7 by Vermont

CASEY DOYLE

DURHAM, N.H.Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) scored three goals to propel the University of New Hampshire to a 6-0 first-half lead, but Sydney Mas scored the last three goals of the game to lift the University of Vermont to Saturday afternoon's 8-7 victory in America East women's lacrosse action at Memorial Field.

UNH is now 7-7 overall and 2-3 in America East. Vermont snapped a four-game losing streak to improve to 8-8, 2-3.

In addition to Simpson, Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) and JoJo Curro (Amherst, N.H.) recorded multiple points as both finished with a goal and an assist. Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) recorded three ground balls and two caused turnovers to garner UNH's America East Player of the Game while Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) was credited with three saves.

Mas, whose last of her four goals marked her 50th tally of the season, was UVM's America East Player of the Game; she also had three draw controls. Allison Pfohl contributed three goals, two draw controls and one ground ball. Laura Barber finished with eight saves as she stopped six of seven shots on goal in the second half.

Simpson quickly gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead on a free position-goal at 29:05. From behind the left post, Curro moved the ball to top of the fan, where Allie Duclos (South Windsor, Conn.) drove a shot the ball into the upper-right corner for a 2-0 advantage at 27:38.

New Hampshire increased the lead to three goals, 3-0, at 24:35 when Simpson, curled from the right post to the top of the crease, where she caught the feed from Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) and beat Barber.

UNH was credited with an "own goal" against Vermont at 18:35 to gake a 4-0 lead. Barber intercepted a pass by Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.) at the left post, but when she pivoted back towards the goalmouth, the ball slipped out of her crosse and across the goal line.

The Wildcats extended the advantage to 5-0 at 17:00 when Cohen, from the top-right side of the fan, advanced the ball down low and Simpson scored on a low shot. UVM called time out at that point, but Curro converted a Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) pass into a goal and 6-0 lead at 15:56.

Vermont closed the half on a 3-0 spurt to trim the deficit in half heading into halftime. Emma Kelly finished Megan MacDonald's feed to pull the visitors within 6-1 at 14:26, then Marcie Marino set up Pfohl at 8:31 and Mas, cutting from left to right, beat three defenders before firing a shot back inside the left post at 5:08.

UVM continued the comeback with Pfohl's unassisted goal just 25 seconds into second half.

UNH ended the spurt and took a 7-4 lead at 26:58 when Cohen maneuvered from the middle to deep on the right side and scored on a high shot inside the near post.

Barber and the Catamounts kept the homestanding 'Cats scoreless the rest of the way, however.

Pfohl lifted Vermont within 7-5 when she ran the ball the length of the field on the right wing and scored on a low shot at 20:34. Mas pulled UVM within one goal, 7-6, at 15:54 when she penetrated the right side and scored nearside. She then leveled the score on a free-position goal – she drove from the top of the fan and once again fired low – at 10:40.

New Hampshire called a timeout and Curro gained possession on the ensuing draw. Barber held the tie score by denying Hayley Rausch (Severna Park, Md.) and UVM's Catie Izzo gathered the ground ball off the rebound. UNH regained possession on Doyle's ground ball with eight minutes remaining, but Barber again kept the Wildcats at bay by denying both Cohen and Rausch.

The Catamounts advanced the ball downfield and Adison Rounds set up the attack behind the net. In one sweeping motion, Mas caught Rounds' pass at the left post and scored on a high shot to give Vermont its first lead of the game, 8-7, at 5:07.

Curro once again gained possession on the draw control, which led to a shot wide from Keagins' stick. Then from the right wing, Keagins found Simpson alone in the middle of the fan. Simpson dropped sidearm to shoot low, but Barber redirected the ball wide of the right post.

Vermont was awarded possession, cleared the ball into the attack zone and called time out at 2:47. The Wildcats, forced to assertively pressure the ball in an attempt to get the ball back, were whistled for two fouls before Simpson's stick check dislodged the ball from a UVM crosse and Keagins gathered the ground ball with 1:10 left on the clock.

UNH passed the ball into the attack zone and was awarded a free position with 44 seconds to play. From the left side, Meghan Bridges (Sandy Hook, Conn.) attacked through a pair of collapsing defenders, but her low shot was stopped by Barber.

UVM methodically worked the ball down the field with short passes and maintained possession to secure the victory.

UNH finished with the slight edge in shots (21-16), ground balls (15-14) and turnovers (16-20) while UVM had a 9-8 advantage in draw controls.

New Hampshire returns to action April 29 at home against 11th-ranked Boston College. The Senior Day game begins at 6 p.m. UNH then closes the regular season May 1 (1 p.m.) at Binghamton University.

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