Women's Lax Felled 18-8 at Vermont Despite O'Keefe's Strong Effort in Goal

BURLINGTON, Vt. – After clawing back to tie the game, 6-6, at halftime, the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was outscored 12-2 in the second half in Saturday afternoon's 18-8 loss to the University of Vermont in America East action at Virtue Field.

UNH, which entered the game with back-to-back wins following Wednesday's 12-11 victory against 12th-ranked Vanderbilt University, is now 3-6 overall and 1-1 in America East. UVM, with consecutive wins in this series to improve to 5-29 lifetime against the Wildcats, won its second straight game to improve to 8-3, 1-1.

Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) and Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) scored two goals apiece to lead the UNH attack. Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) extended her goal-scoring streak to 11 games with a goal and an assist, which also marked the output of Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.). Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) and Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) scored the Wildcats' other goals.

Keagins was also credited with three ground balls, two caused turnovers and one ground ball while Cohen finished with two CTO and one GB.

UNH starting goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.), who was named UNH's America East Player of the Game, made 11 saves and exited the game with the score 12-6 at 13:37 of the second half. She was also credited with four ground balls. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) played the next 5:59 and stopped one of four shots. Kate Gunts (Wilton, Conn.) defended the net for the final 7:38 and was not credited with a save against three goals allowed.

Adison Rounds, the UVM America East Player of the Game, finished with six goals, five draw controls and two caused turnovers. Emma Kelly tallied three goals, while both Marcie Marino and Sydney Mas had two goals and an assist, and Samantha Stern added a goal and two assists. Laura Barber stopped 10 shots.

Hinkle gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead with an unassisted tally, her seventh goal of the season, at 24:27 of the first half when she cut left to right across the middle of the fan and fired a shot into the upper-right corner

UVM scored four consecutive goals in 84 seconds to build a 4-1 advantage. Mas and Allison Pfohl scored 15 seconds apart at 16:41 and 16:26, respectively, to give the Catamounts their first lead of the game. UNH called time out, but Emma Kelly and Rounds struck 31 seconds apart at 15:48 and 15:17.

UNH responded with a 4-0 run spanning 3:04 to regain the lead, 5-4. Casiano, cutting down the middle of the fan, executed a catch-and-shoot off Hinkle's feed from behind the net to lift the visiting 'Cats within 4-2 at 13:00. Keagins eluded defenders as she cut across the fan to the right side and scored on a high shot at 12:00.

Cohen leveled the score, 4-4, at 10:46 when she maneuvered down the left side of the fan and fired a shot inside the near post. O'Keefe then denied Kelly after the ensuing draw control, which led to UNH's transition attack in which Keagins raced down the right wing, drew a pair of defenders and slipped a pass in front of the goalmouth to Simpson for her team-leading 17th goal of the season at 9:56.

Rounds gained possession on the draw control and potted an unassisted goal to tie the score, 5-5, just 17 seconds later at 9:39.

UVM once again controlled the draw, but O'Keefe turned aside Kelly to keep the game deadlocked. One minute later, the Catamounts generated a 2-on-1 counterattack in which O'Keefe quickly shuffled to the left post to deny Stern's pointblank shot.

O'Keefe made another quality save when she stoned Rounds' close-range shot from the right side, but Rounds caught the rebound and fired a shot into the upper-right corner to give Vermont a 6-5 lead at 5:44.

UVM continued to pressure, but once again O'Keefe met the challenge as she turned aside Marino's low shot on a free position from the top of the fan at 3:08.

The Wildcats forged the fourth tie of the game with 17 seconds remaining in the first half when Casiano was awarded a free position at the top of the fan and beat Bartber with a low shot into the cage.

UVM held the halftime advantage in shots (16-12), ground balls (14-9) and draw controls (8-5).

New Hampshire's Puccia corralled the opening draw control of the second half, which led to a Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.) free position at the top-left. Nock raced across the fan and fired a shot that ricocheted off the right post. Casiano gathered the ground ball and Puccia's shot also caromed off the right post to keep the game tied, 6-6.

O'Keefe then did her job to keep UVM at bay by denying Natalie Jones and Mas on free position shots. Mas, positioned at the right doorstep, one-timed Stern's pass from behind the net into the upper-right corner to put the home team back in front, 7-6, at 24:21.

Two minutes later, O'Keefe stopped another free-position shot when on Mas' low shot from the top of the fan. UVM's Marino intercepted O'Keefe's attempted clear at midfield, advanced 21:53.

Another UNH turnover led to the next goal, as Pfohl went the length of the field and scored on a shot inside the left post at 19:46 to extend the lead to three goals. Karli Mackendrick struck 25 seconds later and Rounds potted another goal 43 seconds after that to advance the score to 11-6 at 18:38.

UVM netted the next five goals to extend its run to 10 consecutive goals and build a double digit lead of 16-6. Marino's goal at 13:17 prompted O'Keefe's exit from the game, but UVM continued to pull away on goals by Jones (at 10:26), Kelly (9:14) and Stern (7:38) against Hurwitz, then another by Kelly (7:06) against Gunts.

Cohen, on a free position from the top of the fan, ripped a shot into the upper-right corner to trim the deficit to 16-7 at 5:19. Rounds scored her fifth goal of the game at 4:30 to reestablish a double-digit cushion, then Puccia – the reigning America East Rookie of the Week – netted an unassisted goal at 1:11 when she collected a ground ball off a caused turnover by Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.). Rounds capped the scoring with 37.1 seconds remaining.

UVM tallied second-half advantages in shots (16-13), ground balls (6-5) and draw controls (9-6) to finish with the edge in all three stats – 32-25 in shots, 20-14 in GB and 17-11 in DC.

New Hampshire returns to action April 4 (4 p.m.) at Boston University. The Wildcats' next home game is April 14 (1 p.m.) against the University at Albany.

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