O'Keefe Records 12 Saves; Women's Lax Edged 10-9 in OT by No. 19 Boston College

DURHAM, N.H.Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) recorded 12 saves for the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team, but the Wildcats were defeated 10-9 in overtime by 19th-ranked Boston College in Wednesday afternoon's non-conference game at Memorial Field. 

UNH is now 4-8 overall with three one-goal losses to nationally-ranked teams. BC, which scored on the only shot recorded in the six-minute overtime session, improved to 7-6 by extending its winning streak to three games.

O'Keefe made six saves in both the first and second halves and was credited with two ground balls and two caused turnovers for the Wildcats, who were outshot 36-19.


UNH's offense was led by Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.; three goals) and Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.; three assists) with three points apiece; Hinkle was also credited with a team-high four draw controls. Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.) and Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) recorded two goals apiece and Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) also tallied multiple points with a goal and an assist.

Kate McCarthy netted a game-high four goals, including the game-winning tally at 3:15 of OT. Sarah Mannelly (three goals) and Covie Stanwick (two) were the Eagles' other multiple-point scorers. BC goalie Emily Mata finished with six saves – two in the first half and four in the second half – to help the Eagles overcome a pair of four-goal second-half deficits. 

BC controlled possession with a deliberately-patient, perimeter-passing attack in the opening nine minutes of the game but O'Keefe recorded three saves in that span to keep the game scoreless.

New Hampshire scored on its first shot of the game at 20:13 to take a 1-0 lead when McHoul corralled a loose ball on the left side of the fan and shot high into the cage. 

BC's Carly Weilminster shot wide on a free position at 15:52, but the visitors retained possession and continued its perimeter formation, and it finally yielded a goal by McCarthy as she curled around the left post and scored on a high shot to tie the score at 1-1.

The 'Cats were whistled for a yellow card on the play to give the Eagles a man-up situation for the next two minutes, but O'Keefe denied Mikaela Rix on her free-position shot at 13:20 to keep the score deadlocked. 

New Hampshire regained the lead, 2-1, at 10:56 when Hinkle, from the top of the fan, found Casiano and the middle of the fan. Casiano turned and, despite a defender inhibiting the shooting motion, floated a shot into the cage.

The Eagles leveled the score at 2 when Kara Magley netted a free-position goal at 8:24. 

UNH closed the half with consecutive goals to take a 4-2 lead into halftime. Hinkle, from the top-left of the fan, fed a pass in the middle to Simpson, who deposited a shot inside the right post at 5:27 to give the 'Cats their third lead of the game.

BC's Rix fired shots wide of the target at 4:33 and 3:12, then was stoned by O'Keefe at 2:29. The 'Cats advanced the ball to the other end of the field. Hinkle, at the left doorstep, passed the ball across the goalmouth to Grote alone at the right post and she one-timed a shot into the open right side to give UNH a 4-2 lead at 1:44. 

Hinkle controlled the ensuing draw, but Simpson was denied by Mata with 39 seconds on the clock. The Eagles transitioned into the attack zone by O'Keefe stopped Rix with six seconds remaining to send New Hampshire into the half with a two-goal lead despite being outshot 14-8 in the opening 30 minutes.

The Wildcats extended their streak of consecutive goals to four with goals at 25:28 and 21:42 of the second half to build a 6-2 lead. From behind the right post, McHoul found Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) cutting down the middle of the fan and Gaffey rifled a shot into the upper-left corner of the net. Grote caught Hinkle's entry pass with her back to the goal in the middle of the fan. She cut to the right wing, then doubled back to the center and fired a shot under the crossbar to give the 'Cats a four-goal advantage. 

Boston College called time out at that point and responded with three consecutive goals in less than four minutes to trim the deficit to 6-5. McCarthy's free-position goal from the top-right into the upper-right corner ignited the rally at 21:27. Stanwick made it 6-4 at 20:31 when she circled from behind the net around the left post to the top of the crease, where she tucked a shot inside the right post. McCarthy netted her third goal of the game when she drove down the right side of the field into the fan and scored short-side at 17:57.

UNH called a timeout and also strung together three consecutive goals to reestablish a four-goal cushion at 9-5. Simpson, on a free position from the top-right, shot high into the upper-right corner for her second goal of the game at 15:53. Hinkle controlled the ensuing draw and Simpson struck again at 15:20 when she curled around the left post and dropped a low shot into the net. 

In a quick BC counterattack, Rix attacked down the middle of the fan and fired a shot past O'Keefe, but Rees had stepped in front of Rix and drew the charge to negate the shot.

The Wildcats cleared the ball and Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.) slipped a pass from the top of the fan to Casiano in the middle, and she executed a bounce shot that sailed over Mata into the cage to give UNH a 9-5 lead at 12:05.

BC's McCarthy hit the post at 11:39 and on the same possession Kate Rich rang another shot off the post at 9:43. The Eagles retained control of the ball and Mannelly netted a free-position goal to lift the visitors within 9-6 at 8:59.

Boston College was awarded a free position at 8:09, and on the restart Cali Ceglarski caught the ball at the left doorstep but O'Keefe made the save to keep the 'Cats ahead by three goals. 

Following a UNH turnover, Stanwick potted her 40th goal of the season on a low shot from the right wing at 7:06 to lift BC within 9-7. Rix earned control of the draw and then fired a shot wide at 6:53. O'Keefe sprinted behind the cage to gain possession for the Wildcats, who cleared the ball to the other end of the field but another unforced turnover gave possession back to BC with six minutes remaining in regulation.

McCarthy's fourth goal of the game reduced the Eagles' deficit to 9-8 at 5:09 and she won the draw control to keep momentum in the visitor's favor. McCarthy's free-position shot was stopped by O'Keefe at 4:19 and once New Hampshire methodically advanced the ball to the attack zone. Instead of opting to go into a spread offense, Hinkle caught Simpson's entry pass on the right side and quickly fired a high shot that was snared by Mata at 3:11. 

At the other end of the field, Mannelly curled from behind the net around the left post to the top of the crease and placed a low shot into the cage to forge the third tie of the game, 9-9, at 1:32.

Casiano gained control of the ensuing draw and New Hampshire called its second timeout at 1:23, looking to win a third game this season on a game-winning goal with one second (or less) to play. 

BC's defense successfully kept the 'Cats at bay until the waning seconds, when Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) took a shot in traffic that Mata easily blocked away to send the game into overtime.

Kara Magley earned the draw control for BC and the Eagles held for one shot in the opening three-minute half of the extra session, and it resulted in Mannelly's unassisted goal at 3:15. 

BC's Rix won the next draw but opted to keep possession by going to the left corner to run out the time until the teams changed ends with 3:00 on the clock.

BC's Rix also won that draw control and the Eagles, who outshot the 'Cats 13-2 the last 18 minutes of the game (including overtime), maintained possession the rest of the way with an effective game of keep-away to secure the victory.

The Eagles finished with the slight advantage in both ground balls (12-9) and draw controls (13-10).

New Hampshire returns to action April 13 at home against 10th-ranked Stony Brook University. Game time at Memorial Field is 12 p.m.

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