O'Keefe Records 11 Saves As Women's Lax Edged 11-10 In OT by #20 Navy

KATHLEEN O'KEEFE

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Senior goalkeeper Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) recorded 11 saves, a career-high six ground balls and two caused turnovers for the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team in Wednesday afternoon's battle against 20th-ranked Navy, but the Mids scored with five seconds remaining in overtime to record an 11-10 victory at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

UNH is now 0-5 on the season with three losses to Top-20 opponents, and four of the losses have been by a combined five goals. Navy, coming off Monday's 15-12 loss to fourth-ranked Northwestern University, improved to 7-1.

Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) led UNH's attack with five goals. Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) assisted on all three goals by Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.). Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) scored two goals and Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) recorded three assists, three draw controls and two ground balls.

Navy, which recorded the edge in shots (34-21), ground balls (19-18) and draw controls (15-9), was led offensively by Jasmine DePompeo (two goals, three assists). Annie Foky played 61 minutes, 12 seconds in goal and stopped four of 14 shots on goal to earn the win. Charlotte Hauser did not face a shot on goal in 4:48 of relief action.

The Wildcats held Navy scoreless for more than 20 minutes to build a 4-0 lead. Casiano, with the assistance of McHoul, struck first at 24:30. Simpson scored consecutive unassisted goals at 19:47 and 15:57 to extend the advantage to 3-0. Puccia finished a feed from Hinkle into a goal and four-goal margin at 10:21.

DePompeo responded with a goal 43 seconds later to lift the Mids within 4-1 at 9:38. The teams then combined for five goals in less than three minutes. Puccia, again from Hinkle, reestablished a four-goal margin of 5-1 at 5:49. DePompeo set up Aimee Gennaro at 5:20 and Hinke tallied her third assist of the half on Simpson's third goal of the game at 4:48 to give UNH a 6-2 lead.

Navy closed the first-half scoring on goals by Lauren Generi at 4:10 and DePompeo at 3:04 to trim the deficit to 6-4. O'Keefe prevented the Mids from getting closer when she denied DePompeo in the closing seconds.

The 'Cats opened the second-half scoring on a free-position goal by Simpson at 26:35. Gennaro scored her second of the game at 24:45 to lift Navy within 7-5 and prompt New Hampshire to call time out.

Neither team scored the next six minutes, then the Mids scored free-position goals less than two minutes apart by Generi at 18:24 and Casey Browne at 16:47 to level the score, 7-7.

O'Keefe kept the game deadlocked when she turned aside Gennaro and gathered the ground ball at 15:22. UNH lost possession on a turnover, but O'Keefe stopped DePompeo at 13:20 and Casey Doyle (Ivyland, Pa.) corralled the ground ball.

The Wildcats advanced into the attack zone, where Hinkle fired a shot wide of the net at 12:22 and Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) sent a shot over the crossbar at 11:09. UNH maintained possession and Simpson potted a free-position goal at 10:44 to put the 'Cats back on top, 8-7.

Browne responded with her second tally of the game – again on a free position – to forge an 8-8 tie at 8:24. UNH's Hinkle won the ensuing draw control and Simpson's shot rang off the post at 8:18. Navy gained possession and took its first lead of the game, 9-8, when Molly Hamilton converted DePompeo's pass into a goal at 6:12.

New Hampshire's Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) corralled the ball on the draw control to set up a free position by Puccia, but her shot was stopped by Foky at 4:29. The Wildcats retained possession and McHoul set up Casiano for the game-tying goal at 4:07.

The Mids' Beth Young won the draw and that led to a free position at 2:52, but O'Keefe forced a turnover to give UNH possession. Hinkle was awarded a free position and her shot sailed wide at 1:04. The 'Cats earned another free position with 31 seconds remaining in regulation, but committed a turnover. Navy cleared the ball to its attack zone and called a timeout with 10 seconds to play, but lost possession in the waning seconds to send the game into a six-minute overtime session.

At the outset of the extra session, Young gathered the draw control for Navy. The Mids held for one shot in the opening three-minute session and Kathy Young scored a free position at 3:00 to give the home team a 10-9 lead.

Gennaro gained possession of the ensuing draw and Navy called time out at 1:53, but then Foky committed a turnover in which Puccia gathered the ground ball for the Wildcats with 1:34 on the clock. Seven seconds later, Hannah Wohltmann (Towson, Md.) sent a shot wide of the cage. UNH once again maintained possession and Puccia drew a free position at 1:18. Foky made the save to keep Navy in front, 10-9, but Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.) picked up the ground ball and Casiano, once more from McHoul, scored with 32 seconds left in OT to tie the score at 10.

Beth Young again gained possession for Navy off the draw control, and that led to Jill Coughlin's game-winning goal with five seconds remaining. UNH's Jamie DePetris (Radnor, Pa.) was fouled with one second remaining to get possession of the draw. Navy called another timeout and time expired before the Wildcats could record a game-tying goal attempt.

Hinkle extended her assist streak to four games and point streak to eight with the three-assist effort. Simpson's goal- and point-scoring streaks extended to six games.

New Hampshire returns to action March 16 (12 p.m.) at Longwood. The Wildcats' next home game is March 19 against Columbia University. Game time at Memorial Field is 2 p.m.

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