NEW YORK – Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) scored a season-high five goals to propel the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team to Wednesday night's 14-8 victory against Columbia University in non-conference action at Robert K. Kraft Field.
UNH scored on its first nine shots of the game en route to recording its third-highest goal output of the season to improve to 4-9 overall. Columbia is now 2-11.
Keagins extended her point streak to 18 games and goal streak to 16 with her five tallies. Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) led six other multiple-point Wildcats with two goals and two assists. Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.) tallied three points (2g, 1a) while Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.; 2g), Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.; 2g), Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.; 1g, 1a) and Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.; 2a) all recorded two points.
Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) was credited with eight saves and a career-high six ground balls to earn her first career victory. Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) finished with two caused turnovers and four ground balls, which matched her personal best, and Casiano also tallied a career-high five draw controls.
Paige Cuscovitch (2g, 2a) and Katie Angulo (3g) led the Columbia attack. Skylar Dabbar made two saves.
The Lions quickly built a 2-0 lead when Kaitlin Brophy scored goals 17 seconds apart at 24:46 and 24:29. The home team's advantage was shortlived, however, and the Wildcats closed the half on a 9-1 run to take a 9-3 lead into halftime.
Cohen rolled behind the net to the right post to pull the 'Cats within 2-1 at 23:24, then Simpson drove the right side of the fan and finished Hinkle's feed to level the score at 22:27. Keagins' first goal of the game on a charge through the middle of the fan gave UNH a lead it would not relinquish, 3-2, at 21:01.
New Hampshire potted a fourth consecutive goal to extend the lead to 4-2 at 19:26 when Keagins one-timed Simpson's pass from behind the net into a goal. Kacie Johnson curled behind the net to the right post and placed a shot high into the upper-near corner to lift Columbia within 4-3 at 17:55.
Cohen, from behind the net, found Casiano alone at the left post and she quickly deposited a shot into the open cage to reestablish a two-goal lead, 5-3, at 16:21. Utilizing a screen by Puccia on the left wing, Keagins cut to the middle of the fan and rifled a shot inside the right post for her third goal of the game and 125th career point to give the 'Cats a 6-3 lead at 11:37.
The Lions called time out, but Casiano deposited a low shot off a free position from the top of the 8-meter arc into the goal for a 7-3 advantage at 10:17. Puccia set up the next two tallies to extend the margin to six goals. From 15 meters off the right post, Puccia slipped a pass low to Nock, who turned and fired a shot into the upper-right corner at 3:56. Then deep on the left side, Puccia found Cohen curling from behind the net to the left post for her second goal of the game at 1:29.
Columbia opened the second-half scoring on a Katie Angulo goal at 22:14 to close within 9-4, but free-position goals by Puccia (at 20:36) and Nock (17:07) gave the Wildcats an 11-4 lead. Cuscovitch responded with a goal 25 seconds later and Angulo struck at 15:37 to trim the Lions' deficit to 11-6.
On a free position from the right side, Keagins raced to the middle and fired a shot back inside the right post to make it a six-goal game, 12-6, at 12:47.
Cuscovitch and Angulo scored 23 seconds apart – at 9:15 and 8:52, respectively – to pull the home squad within four goals, the closest CU had been since 7-3 in the latter part of the first half.
CU won the ensuing draw control and recorded two shots off target before UNH's Doyle caused a turnover and corralled the ground ball at 5:46. UNH called a timeout. Following two extended scoreless possessions, the Wildcats struck again at 2:01 when Hinkle set up Puccia. Keagins potted a man-up goal with two seconds remaining to close the scoring.
UNH finished with a 23-16 edge in ground balls. Columbia had the edge in shots (22-19), draw controls (18-6) and turnovers (10-12).
New Hampshire returns to action April 21 against UMBC for its last home game of the season. The Senior Day game begins at 12 p.m.