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The University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team opens play in the 2011 America East Championship in a May 5 semifinal game against eighth-ranked and top-seeded University at Albany. Game time at UA's John Fallon Field is one o'clock.
Visit www.unhwildcats.com for links to video and live stats.
UNH has an 11-3 lifetime record, including a 16-8 loss at John Fallon Field on April 9, against Albany. Including that game, Albany has won three of the last four meetings; the Wildcats prevailed 17-9 in a 2009 America East semifinal game at Boston University. UNH has a 4-2 road record in this series, and the most recent road win was in April 2007 (6-4).
The Wildcats have won all three previous postseason meetings, and all three were America East semifinal matchups. In addition to 2009, the 'Cats ousted the Great Danes from the tourney in 2005 (14-6) and 2004 (19-6).
UNH opened this series vs. Albany with 10 consecutive wins spanning the 2001–08 seasons.
In the April 9 matchup, Albany took a 7-1 lead at 11:52 of the first half. UNH closed within 9-5 at halftime and opened the second-half scoring with just 38 seconds elapsed to trim the deficit to 9-6. The Wildcats then had two possessions to inch closer, but could not do so (blocked shot, turnover) and the Great Danes scored three consecutive goals to build a 12-6 advantage en route to the 16-8 win.
Jenny Simpson was named UNH's America East Player of the Game with three goals. Kathleen O'Keefe stopped eight of 22 shots while Kate Gunts, in a relief stint of 4:50, made three saves and allowed two goals.
UA was led offensively by Taylor Frink (1g, 4a), Jodi Battaglia (3g, 2a) and Rachael Burek (4g). Anna Berman was credited with six saves.
The State of New Hampshire
UNH is making its league-record 14th consecutive appearance in the America East Championship tournament in 2011. The Wildcats closed the regular season on a high note by recording a 12-10 victory at Binghamton last Sunday; two days earlier, the 'Cats battled ninth-ranked Boston College to a 6-6 deadlock at halftime before succumbing 14-9.
New Hampshire's balanced attack continued last week with seven different goal scorers against BC (nine goals total) and nine different goal scorers netting 14 goals at Binghamton.
The Wildcats went 4-5 on the road this season, and that included 1-2 against America East foes. The 'Cats defeated Binghamton (12-10) and lost to Albany (16-8) and UMBC (10-8). The win against the Bearcats ended a streak of four consecutive road losses.
UNH played one neutral-site game during the '11 regular season and was a 20-4 victor against Presbyterian College at Marietta, Georgia.
New Hampshire has a 7-0 record when scoring in double digits; in contrast, the 'Cats are 1-8 when scoring in single figures.
How We Got Here
In what came down to a play-in game for New Hampshire and Binghamton at the Bearcats Sports Complex on May 1, UNH overcame a five-goal deficit in the final 20 minutes of the game to prevail 12-10 and advance to the America East Championship tournament as the #4 seed.
The Wildcats trailed 10-5 with 20:46 remaining, but goalkeeper Kate Gunts kept the Bearcats at bay the rest of the way by stopping all six shots on goal. She finished with a season-high 10 saves and two ground balls. Ilana Cohen tallied three points, including the game-tying goal at 9:05 and game-winning goal at 6:38, during the game-ending 7-0 run. The 10-10 tie was the first of the game (other than 0-0) and the 11-10 lead was UNH's first of the game. Cohen ended the game with three goals and two assists to match her personal bests in both goals and points (five).
Playing the Field
Albany went 3-0 against this year's America East tournament field, while UNH, Boston University and UMBC all had a 1-2 record. UNH won at home against BU but lost on the road to Albany and UMBC.
Hayley Rausch and Kate Keagins are approaching the 100-point milestone. Rausch enters the tournament with 96 points (64g, 32a) and Keagins has 94 points (63g, 31a).
Kate Gunts recorded a season-high 10 saves to backbone UNH's come-from-behind effort at Binghamton. For her efforts, which also included two ground balls, Gunts was honored as America East Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Ilana Cohen matched her career high of five points at Binghamton; the three goals also tied a personal best.
Allie Duclos and Casey Doyle are the only Wildcats who started all 16 regular-season games.
Duclos and Jenny Simpson share the longest active goal-scoring streak of seven games. Duclos has eight goals, Simpson 14.
JoJo Curro carries a team-best 12-game point-scoring streak into postseason play.
UNH in Postseason Play
New Hampshire has advanced to the America East championship game seven of the last nine years – 2007 and 2010 are the only exceptions in that span from 2002-10. UNH won the league tourney title in 2004. The Wildcats extended their league record for consecutive tournament appearances to 14 this season.
Since 2002, all nine America East Championship tournament losses have been to Boston University. The last team other than BU to defeat the Wildcats in an America East postseason game was Hofstra University (13-5 at Hofstra in a 2001 semifinal game). The 'Cats are 7-0 against the three other America East foes they have faced in league tourney action spanning the 2002-10 seasons.
The Wildcats have a 36-30-1 overall record in the postseason, and that includes an 8-12 mark in the America East tournament. UNH has been victorious in seven of its last nine league semifinal games following last year's loss to Boston University at Albany. The 'Cats have a 1-6 record in America East championship games.
UNH has a 5-11 record, including 1-6 in the America East tournament (1-2 in semifinals), in postseason road games. The Wildcats' most recent road win in postseason play was in 2006, when they upended top-seeded UMBC, 12-5, in a league semifinal.
The Wildcats have a 21-15-1 ledger in neutral-site postseason games that includes 4-5 in America East play. New Hampshire's only neutral site championship game was a 12-10 loss to BU at UMBC in '06.
UNH has a 3-0 postseason record against Albany. In the most recent meeting, the 'Cats were 17-9 victors in a 2009 America East semifinal game at BU. UNH also defeated the Great Danes in the '04 and '05 league semifinals.
New Hampshire has a 1-11 postseason record, including 1-6 in America East title games, against Boston University. These teams have met every year in league postseason play since 2002.
The Wildcats have a 1-0 postseason record vs. UMBC. They upended the top-seeded Retrievers, 12-5, in a 2006 America East semifinal matchup at UMBC.
New Hampshire enters postseason play atop the America East rankings in ground balls (15.88 per game), caused turnovers (9.94 per game) and assists (4.88 per game); the Wildcats are also second in defense (yielding 9.42 goals per game).
Kate Keagins sits atop the league leaderboard in both caused turnovers and ground balls; she is also seventh in both shots and assists per game.
Other Wildcats among the America East leaders are Allie Duclos in caused turnovers (third) and ground balls (fifth) as well as Kathleen O'Keefe (fourth) and Kate Gunts (seventh) in goals-against-average. Ilana Cohen and JoJo Curro are tied for 10th in assists.
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. She has helped lead UNH to the America East Championship tournament all four years and to an NCAA tourney appearance in 2008.
Duclos has a team-high 25 draw controls and ranks second in both ground balls (33) and caused turnovers (23). She has also been a consistent point contributor with a goal in 13 of 16 games, including a current seven-game streak and five consecutive games from March 5-18. She has 15 goals and two assists for 17 points.
Last weekend, Duclos was honored as UNH's America East Player of the Game vs. Boston College with one goal, three draw controls, one ground ball and one caused turnover. In the finale vs. Binghamton, she tallied one goal, three GB and one CTO. She matched her career high of two goals March 18 vs. Presbyterian College and again April 9 at Albany.
Duclos recorded the team high in ground balls four times (Holy Cross, George Mason, Vandy and UMBC). She has also been the leader in caused turnovers three times (Colgate, Fairfield and Vandy) and was the leader in draw controls three times (UMass, SBU and BC).
In three games spanning March 14-18, Duclos tallied four goals, 12 GB, eight CTO and five DC. She filled the stat line at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt with one goal, five GB, four CTO and two DC, and did the same at 10th-ranked Albany with two goals, two GB, one DC and one CTO as well as vs. Stony Brook with one goal, one assist, one GB, five DC and two CTO – the five draw controls is the highest total by a UNH Wildcat this season.
April 1 at Harvard, Duclos had 1's across the board with one goal, one assist, one shot, one ground ball, one draw control and one caused turnover.
Pass, Shoot and Score
A high percentage of UNH's goals are generated from the pass attack. The Wildcats have recorded 78 assists on 144 goals (excluding free-position goals), and that calculates to 54.2%. This is a second-year trend for New Hampshire; last year's team amassed 100 assists on 166 non-free position goals (60.2%).
Leaders of the 'cat pack
Juniors Ilana Cohen and Hayley Rausch captain the 2011 Wildcats (with senior midfielder Allie Duclos) and are two of the team's top point producers; they rank 2-3 in that statistic.
Cohen is a third-year starter who garnered America East All-Conference Second Team honors a year ago. Despite missing one game and seeing limited action in another in 2011, the midfielder ranks second in goals (24), assists (13) and points (37); she has a team-high .600 shooting percentage. The 24 goals and 37 points exceed her previous single-season highs (12g, 27p; both in 2010).
Cohen opened the 2011 season with a goal in eight consecutive games as part of a season-opening 10-game point-scoring streak that extended her overall point-scoring streak to 12 games. Cohen started 2011 with six consecutive multiple-point efforts and has 11 overall with seven multiple-goal efforts.
In the regular-season finale at Binghamton, Cohen matched her career highs in both goals (three) and points (five). She was also credited with three draw controls and one caused turnover.
Cohen matched her personal best of three goals at 19th-ranked Dartmouth (Feb. 26), at Colgate (March 5) and vs. Stony Brook (April 16). She tallied career highs in both assists (three) and points (five) at Fairfield (March 12) and equalled that five-point total against Stony Brook.
Rausch, who has also missed one game and been limited in other games due to injuries, is third in both goals (23) and points (35) as well as fourth in assists (12). She tallied team highs in both goals (three) and points (four) last Friday against ninth-ranked Boston College.
Rausch tallied a point each of her first five games of the season to extend her point-scoring streak to 23 games. She was held without a goal or assist, however, March 16 at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt. Rausch then scored a goal in six consecutive games (spanning March 18 to April 16) with totals of 12 goals and seven assists for 19 points.
Overall, Rausch has a point in 13 of 15 games with eight multiple-point efforts.
She tallied career highs in both goals (five) and points (six) to lead UNH to a 13-12 double overtime victory against Boston University (April 6); she scored four second-half goals and then ended the game with a goal at 38 seconds of the second extra session. Rausch matched her previous career highs in both goals (four) and points (five) March 5 at Colgate.
Rausch tallied a career-high three assists as part of her five-point performance April 16 vs. Stony Brook. She also tallied a goal and an assist against two nationally-ranked teams – 19th-ranked Dartmouth and 10th-ranked Albany.
What's Ours Is Ours & What's Yours Is Ours
The Wildcats have committed fewer turnovers than the opponent in 10 of 16 games during the 2011 season (255-299 overall). UNH recorded the turnover advantage each of the first six games before losing that battle March 16 at 11th-ranked Vanderbilt (24-18). UNH was also charged with more turnovers at UMBC (15-14) and at Albany (14-8), as well as vs. BC (18-16) and Binghamton (19-18).
New Hampshire's largest turnover margin is +14 (12-26 vs. UMass), followed by +12 (16-28 vs. Presbyterian).
In 2010, UNH committed more turnovers than the opponent just five times in 17 games.
Junior midfielder Kate Keagins leads the team in assists (16), points (38) and shots (77), and she is fourth in goals (22). But she is more than just a point producer for the Wildcats. Keagins also leads the team in both caused turnovers (32) and ground balls (37), and she ranks fourth in draw controls (19). She is the only 'Cat who has recorded double digits in goals, assists, ground balls, caused turnovers and draw controls.
In the regular-season finale at Binghamton, Keagins filled the stat sheet with one goal, two assists, five draw controls, two ground balls and one caused turnover. In last Friday's game vs. ninth-ranked BC, she tallied two points (1g, 1a), three GB and four CTO.
Keagins has led the team in caused turnovers seven of 16 games this season, and that includes four vs. Boston U. (April 6) and three against Boston College (April 29). She has also been the team leader in ground balls four times. Her season highlights include seven GB and three CTO at nationally-ranked Dartmouth College as well as six GB and six CTO vs. Presbyterian.
Keagins opened the year with a point in 11 consecutive games to extend her point-scoring streak to 19 games before being held without a point April 9 at 10th-ranked Albany; it is the only game this season she was held without a point. In the last four games, she has compiled four goals and five assists for nine points.
Keagins has 11 multiple-point efforts (including six consecutive games spanning March 5-26) with seven multiple-goal games and four multiple-assist performances. She tallied a season-high three goals three times (Holy Cross, Fairfield, Presbyterian) and recorded a season-best three assists at Fairfield for a season high of six points. Keagins finished with two goals and two assists against Boston University (April 6).
Winter temperatures lingered the latter part of March into early April in New England, but junior attack JoJo Curro heated up during that time and recorded an assist in eight consecutive games spanning March 5 to April 9 to climb to #2 on the team in assists. Curro's assist streak ended April 16 vs. Stony Brook, but she did score a goal that game and carries a 12-game point-scoring streak into Thursday's semifinal matchup against Albany.
Curro has 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists during her current 12-game point streak; those are also her season totals. She has seven multiple-point efforts, and in six America East league games she compiled 10 points (6g, 4a).
Curro matched her career high of three assists and also tallied a goal for a season-best four points March 18 against Presbyterian, and she tallied her second three-point game of the season with two goals and an assist against Boston U. (April 6).
It's a Draw
Draw controls were not one of UNH's strengths early in the season, but the tide has turned in recent weeks. The 'Cats recorded a 16-13 edge in that statistic against Boston University (April 6), were nearly even at Albany (11-13) and had a 15-5 edge against Stony Brook (April 16); the 15 DC marked the second-highest total of the season and the +10 margin was the best of 2011. UVM (9-8) and BC (15-10) also bested the Wildcats in that statistic, but the 'Cats had a 14-10 advantage in the regular-season finale at Binghamton.
Overall, opponents have totaled 179 in comparison to the Wildcats' 162. The opposition recorded a 3:1 ratio (36-12 overall) in the first three games before the Wildcats finished with the advantage in draw controls at Colgate (March 5), albeit by the slimmest of margins (16-15). New Hampshire also finished plus-one in the draw control column vs. both George Mason and Presbyterian. The 'Cats finished even in that stat at UMBC.
Know Your Role
Junior defender Erin Levesque may not compile impressive statistics (nine GB, four CTO and four DC), but she started 11 of 12 games and was a solid foundation of the defensive unit before being sidelined by injury. Levesque was credited with two ground balls and one caused turnover in the Wildcats' America East opener, March 26 at UMBC. She had one draw control and one CTO April 6 vs. Boston University.
Making the Most of the Opportunity
Junior goalkeeper Kate Gunts has played in six of the last nine games with five starts, including both games last weekend vs. BC and Binghamton, in that span. Gunts held Binghamton scoreless for the final 20:46 of the game (with six saves in that time span) to allow UNH to overcome a five-goal deficit and prevail 12-10. She finished with 10 saves and two ground balls to earn selection as UNH's America East Player of the Game; she was also feted by America East as the Defensive Player of the Week.
In eight games overall, Gunts has a 3-1 record with a 10.09 GAA and .396 save percentage. She is 1-0 with a 12.92 GAA and .459 save percentage in three league games (two starts). In four road games, including a brief relief stint at Albany, Gunts has a 2-0 record with a 9.64 GAA and .422 save percentage.
She made eight saves and surrendered just four goals in the March 18 victory against Presbyterian College. Gunts received the starting nod at Harvard (April 1) but was not credited with a save before exiting the game with the score tied 6-6 through 37 minutes. She left the April 6 game vs. Boston University with UNH trailing 8-5 with 1:58 left in the first half. April 9 at Albany, she had a second-half relief stint of 4:50 in which she stopped three of five shots on goal.
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. The season total stands at 14-for-44 (31.8%) following a 1-for-4 effort against Binghamton. Last year, the Wildcats scored on 26 of 58 free-position shots (27.6% scoring percentage).
Opponents have scored on 32 of 78 (41.0%) free-position shots this season, and that includes 0-for-3 by both Stony Brook and Dartmouth as well as 1 of 6 by Colgate; at the other end of the spectrum, UMBC converted 4 of 6 free position shots into a goal and Binghamton went 3-for-7. In 2010, the opposition finished 39-for-89 (43.8%).
UNH has scored more free-position goals that the opposition two times in 16 games (Presbyterian, 3-2; and Colgate, 2-1). The Wildcats have attempted more free-position shots just one twice – vs. Presbyterian and Stony Brook. In fact, the 'Cats have not attempted a free-position shot in two games (Dartmouth and Harvard).
America East Player of the Game
The America East conference continued its Player of the Game award in the 2011 season. A UNH player was 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)
March 26 at UMBC– Hayley Rausch (2g, 2a)
April 6 vs. Boston U.– Hayley Rausch (5g, 1a)
April 9 at Albany– Jenny Simpson (3g, 3sh, 1gb, 1dc)
April 16 vs. Stony Brook– Ilana Cohen (3g, 2a, 2gb, 2cto)
April 23 vs. Vermont– Casey Doyle (3gb, 2cto)
April 29 vs. Boston College– Allie Duclos (1g, 2gb, 3dc)
May 1 at Binghamton– Kate Gunts (10 saves, 2gb)
Key: g=goal a=assist gb=ground ball cto=caused turnover dc=draw control
That Was Close...
Seven of UNH's 16 games have been decided by three goals or less. The Wildcats are 1-1 in one-goal games, 1-2 in two-goal games and 2-0 in games with a three-goal differential.
...But Sometimes It's Not
At the other end of the spectrum, seven of UNH's 16 games have been decided by five or more goals, and the Wildcats have won three of those seven games. UNH's largest margin of victory was 16 goals (20-4, March 18 vs. Presbyterian). The opponent's largest margin of victory was eight goals (16-8) – by the Wildcats' semifinal opponent, Albany.
It's Only One Goal
UNH and its opponent combine to score approximately goals per game, but scoring first has been a good omen for the 'Cats, who have a 5-2 record when taking a 1-0 lead. Conversely, New Hampshire is 3-6 when falling behind 1-0.
A 30-minute Game?
A collegiate women's lacrosse game is officially 60 minutes, comprised of two 30-minute halves. But the team that has led at halftime has gone on to victory 11 of 15 times (the score was tied at the half once, and UNH went on to lose to Boston College).
The Wildcats have a 6-2 mark when leading at halftime and are 2-5 when trailing at the midway point.
Looking Back at the Crystal Ball
Here is a look at the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll that was released in February in comparison to the final league standings.
1. Boston U. (3) 33 1. Albany 6-0
2. Albany (2) 29 2. Boston U. 4-2
3. UMBC (1) 27 UMBC 4-2
4. UNH (1) 23 4. UNH 3-3
5. Vermont 17 5. Vermont 2-4
6. Stony Brook 12 6. Stony Brook 1-5
7. Binghamton 6 Binghamton 1-5
Scouting the Great Danes
The University at Albany is ranked #8 in this week's IWLCA Poll after completing the regular season undefeated at 15-0; that includes 6-0 in America East and 8-0 at home.
Last weekend in a battle for the top seed in the conference at John Fallon Field, the Great Danes broke a 4-4 tie with four consecutive goals and led 9-6 at halftime. UMBC rallied within 11-10 at 10:54 of the second half and once again pulled within one goal, 12-11, at 5:37. Neither team scored again, however, and Albany prevailed despite being outshot 25-15.
Taylor Frink leads the nation in assists per game and is ranked fifth in points per game; she has 30 goals and 40 assists for 70 points. Jodi Battaglia is second on the team in goals (41), assists (13) and points (54) while Ariana Parker is third in goals (36) and points (37). Nikki Branchini is #3 in the nation in draw controls per game with 74 in 15 games.
Anna Berman has started all 15 games and played 95% of the minutes in goal; she has a 15-0 record with a 7.03 GAA and .457 save percentage.
Preview: UNH vs. Boston U.
UNH has a 12-21 lifetime record, including a 13-12 double overtime victory at Memorial Field on April 6, against Boston University. That victory ended BU's streak of 13 consecutive victories in the series spanning the previous six seasons (2005-10); six of those 13 games were decided by one or two goals.
Prior to this season, UNH's most recent victory was 11-9 in the 2004 America East championship game at Memorial Field.
New Hampshire has a 1-11 postseason record, including 1-6 in America East title games, against Boston University. These teams have met in America East postseason play every year since 2002, and the teams also battled in a 2008 NCAA first round game. In last year's semifinal at Albany, BU built an 8-1 halftime lead and held off UNH's second-half rally to prevail 10-6.
Scouting the Terriers
Boston University enters the America East Championship with an 8-8 overall record that includes 4-2 in the league and 4-5 away from home (the Terriers have not played a neutral-site game). Prior to the current two-game winning streak, the Terriers had lost four straight.
Last weekend, BU doubled up UVM in Vermont by a score of 16-8 to secure a berth in the league tournament; that victory, combined with UMBC's loss, gave BU the #2 seed.
Danielle Etrasco, who scored a school-record nine goals in the win at UVM, is ranked 11th nationally in goals per game. She leads the Terriers in both goals (53) and points (61). Four other players have recorded 30+ points. Erica Baumgartner has a team-high 25 assists and is second in points (39). Hannah Frey (28g, 4a), Molly Swain (25g, 6a) and Catie Tilton (9g, 21a) are the other top point producers.
Rachel Collins (50 draw controls, 31 ground balls, 11 caused turnovers) and Corcoran Downey (37 GB, 25 DC, 20 CTO) are other statistical leaders.
Christina Sheridan has played in 15 of 16 games with 13 starts. She has a 7-6 record with a 9.64 GAA and .417 save percentage.
BU has outscored the opposition 90-77 in the first half and 177-161 overall. The Terriers have scored in double digits 11 times in 16 games with a high of 16 goals against Vermont in the regular-season finale.
Preview: UNH vs. UMBC
UNH has a 9-1 lifetime record, including this year's 10-8 road loss, against UMBC. These teams have met once in postseason play, and the Wildcats ousted the top-seeded Retrievers from the 2006 America East semifinals with a 12-5 victory. In the only previous neutral-site meeting, UNH was a 16-1 victor in 1989, which was the first meeting in this series. The programs did not play again until UMBC joined America East for the 2004 season.
Scouting the Retrievers
UMBC (Baltimore, Md.) ended the regular season with a 10-6 overall record that included 4-2 in America East and 3-4 away from home (the Retrievers did not play a neutral-site game). UMBC went 3-3 in the month of April.
Last weekend, UMBC battled Albany for the top seed of the America East Championship and was defeated 12-11; as a result, the Retrievers tied for second in the standings and fell to the #3 seed.
Alicia Krause leads the team in both goals (35) and points (50) while Erika Braerman has a team-high 18 assists and is second in points (48). Amanda Pappas is tied with Krause in goals and has 40 points overall. Emily Coady has reached double digits in both goals (20) and assists (10).
Krause also leads the team in ground balls (28), draw controls (26) and caused turnovers (18).
Natalie Rau has played in all 16 games with 14 starts; she has a 9-4 record with a 9.88 GAA and .394 save percentage.
UMBC has outscored the opposition 96-76 in the first half and 176-158 overall.