Casiano, McHoul Tally Five Points Apiece; Women's Lax Outlasted 13-12 at Hofstra


HEMPSTEAD, N.Y.Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) and Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded five points apiece for the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team in Saturday afternoon's season opener, but Hofstra University closed the game on a 5-1 run to surge past UNH for a 13-12 victory at James M. Shuart Stadium.

Casiano matched her career high of four goals and also tallied an assist while McHoul, in her collegiate debut, tallied five assists. Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.), UNH's top goal scorer and point producer last season, finished with three goals.  Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) tallied three goals and an assist while Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) finished with two goals.

Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) was credited with 11 saves and five ground balls. Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) tallied a career-high five ground balls and three caused turnovers while Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) finished with four GBs, which equaled her personal best, and two CTOs.

Hofstra, which recorded the edge in shots (32-25; 17-10 in the second half) and draw controls (17-10; 11-4 in the second half), was led by Emily Considine (4g) and Brittain Altomare (1g, 4a). Kelsey Gregerson stopped 10 shots. 

The Wildcats, under the guidance of first-year head coach Sarah Albrecht, roared out to a 4-0 lead as Hinkle opened the game scoring with an unassisted goal at 3:05. McHoul then set up the next three goals by Casiano (at 4:39), Puccia (5:37) and Casiano again at 15:13.

Hofstra cut the four-goal deficit in half on goals 79 seconds apart by Jill Maier at 15:27 and Taylor Albright at 16:46. 

Puccia's second goal of the game, this time off a feed from Casiano, pushed UNH's lead back to three goals, 5-2, at 19:17 but Maier responded with her second goal just 16 seconds later.

Casiano's third tally of the day – McHoul once again recorded the assist -- pushed the advantage to 6-3 at 23:19. Altomare lifted the Pride within 6-4 at 25:12 and Simpson netted an unassisted goal less than one minute later at 26:03 to close the first-half scoring. 

The first half shots were even at 15 but New Hampshire had the 13-9 edge in shots on goal. The Wildcats also recorded a slight advantage in ground balls, 15-13, and the draw controls were even at six.

Considine opened the second half with consecutive goals at 32:11 and 34:30 to pull the home team within 7-6, but Simpson converted a free position into her second goal of the game just 18 seconds later to give UNH an 8-6 lead. 

Julie Riemer's goal at 36:24 once again made it a one-goal differential but Hinkle's second unassisted strike gave the 'Cats a 9-7 lead at 38:35. Considine's third goal lifted the Pride within a goal for the third time, but McHoul set up Casiano for the fourth time of the game 44:57 and Simpson potted her third goal – an unassisted tally – at 45:54 to extend the Wildcats' advantage to 11-8.

Hofstra closed within 11-10 on goals 31 seconds apart by Emily von Hollen and Riemer at 46:12 and 46:43, respectively, before calling time out at 49:30. Becky Conto leveled the score, 11-11, at 53:38 and Claire Brady's tally 36 seconds later gave the Pride its first lead of the game. 

The Pride won the ensuing draw control, but O'Keefe made a save to keep the margin at one goal. At the other end of the field, Simpson fired a shot wide of the target but UNH maintained possession. The Wildcats lost possession with three minutes remaining, however, and after a succession of UNH fouls Considine struck again to give Hofstra a 13-11 lead with 31 seconds to play.

Rachael Nock
(Severna Park, Md.) gained possession of the draw control and Simpson set up Puccia's goal that sliced the deficit to 13-12 with eight seconds left. Hofstra secured the victory when Maier gained possession of the ensuing draw control.

New Hampshire returns to action Feb. 23 for its home opener against the University of Massachusetts. Game time at Memorial Field is 1 p.m.

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