DURHAM, N.H. – Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) scored two goals but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 9-5 by Lehigh University in Saturday afternoon's non-conference game at Bremner Field.
UNH, which recorded the advantage in shots (15-12) and ground balls (21-16), fell to 1-2 at home and 1-3 overall. Lehigh improved to 2-1 after playing its first road game of the season. The Mountain Hawks recorded the 9-7 edge in draw controls.
UNH goalkeeper Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) was credited with three saves. Puccia, the only Wildcat with multiple points, also recorded three ground balls, two draw controls and one caused turnover. Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) finished with three ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Krista Dampman and Carli Sukonik scored four goals apiece for Lehigh and Kendall Garden tallied a goal and two assists to account for all 11 of the Mountain Hawks' points. Garden's other statistics included five ground balls, one draw control and four caused turnovers. Alex Fitzpatrick made nine saves.
Hurwitz denied Allison LaBeau at 27:18 of the first half and Garden at 25:39 to keep the game scoreless but Sukonik scored on a free position from the left wing to give Lehigh a 1-0 lead at 24:51.
The Wildcats went on a 3-1 run to take its only lead of the game, 3-2. Puccia tied the score, 1-1, at 24:05 on a low free-position shot from the left side. Lehigh regained the lead, 2-1, at 21:35 when Dampman beat Hurwitz on a low shot.
Puccia controlled the ensuing draw control and was denied by Fitzpatrick on a free position. At the other end of the field, Garden was yellow carded on a free position shot to negate her goal at 19:25 and keep the score 2-1. The Mountain Hawks were issued another yellow card at 19:17 and UNH capitalized to tie the score when Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) cut through the side of the fan for a goal at 18:44.
Lehigh closed the first half with four consecutive goals to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. Dampman tied the score with a free-position goal at 14:52 and Julianne D'Orazio gained possession of the ensuing draw control. Sukonik was awarded a free position on the left wing and scored to give the visitors a lead (4-3) they would not relinquish at 14:34.
Puccia won the draw and was once again turned away by Fitzpatrick at 13:47. Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.) corralled the ground ball, however, to keep possession for New Hampshire. Hannah Wohltmann (Towson, Md.) earned a free position but Fitzpatrick made the save to preserve Lehigh's 4-3 advantage.
The Mountain Hawks called time out at 12:50 and cleared the ball the length of the field. Dampman then netted a free-position goal on a low shot from the top of the fan to give the visitors a 5-3 lead at 12:12.
UNH had two possessions end by turnover before Lehigh's Sukonik finished Garden's feed for a 6-3 cushion at 7:52.
The Wildcats recorded the only shot the rest of the first half – Fitzpatrick denied Grote at 4:35 – as the teams combined for eight turnovers the remaining 7:52 of the half.
Lehigh extended its run of consecutive goals to six to extend the cushion to 8-3. The combination of Garden to Sukonik made it 7-3 at 27:48. New Hampshire was awarded a free position at 25:04, but Fitzpatrick kept the margin at four goals with a save against Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.). The Mountain Hawks then converted a free position into a goal by Garden at 23:18.
Fitzpatrick again denied McGillis at 19:47, but McHoul gathered the ground ball to retain possession for the 'Cats. Becca Graves (Rowley, Mass.) ripped a shot wide right at 19:38 and then Grote's shot was caught by Fitzpatrick at 19:08.
UNH ended its scoreless drought of 33 minutes, 39 seconds when Nock evaded a double team on the right wing by circling away from the goal and then cutting back down the right side of the fan and scoring on a high shot to pull the home team within 8-4 at 13:18.
The teams exchanged possessions and Hurwitz kept the 'Cats within four goals when she denied Dampman at the top of the circle at 11:24.
Garden almost immediately got the ball back for Lehigh with a caused turnover and ground ball at midfield. Lehigh went into a perimeter offense, but Cara Dowdle (Northbrook, Ill.) forced a turnover to get the ball back for UNH with nine minutes remaining.
The Wildcats closed within 8-5 at 7:17 when McGillis, on the left side of the fan, found Puccia curling around the left post and she potted her second goal of the game.
McHoul gained control of the ensuing draw and entered the offensive zone, but then her pass to the right wing couldn't be handled by Puccia and Lehigh's Michelle Abramczyk grabbed the ground ball.
The Mountain Hawks once again went into a perimeter offense to protect the three-goal lead, but Rees' stick check forced a turnover and Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) picked up the loose ball with 5:07 remaining.
UNH patiently set up its attack, but Garden forced a turnover and corralled the ground ball to give the ball back to Lehigh with four minutes on the clock.
LU called its last timeout at 3:57 and ran another minute off the clock before Marissa Gurello (Manorville, N.Y.) gave possession back to New Hampshire with a ground ball at 2:43. Gurello was chased down by Garden at midfield, however, and the latter's stick check forced the ball loose and D'Orazio picked up the ground ball to put the ball back in Lehigh's possession.
The Mountain Hawks utilized speed and spacing to retain possession before Dampman scored with 28 seconds left to advance the score to 9-5.
The draw was controlled by Hinkle, but the 'Cats did not record a shot before time expired.
New Hampshire returns to action Wednesday, March 5 at home against the University of Connecticut. Game time at Bremner Field is 4 p.m.