GAME NOTES: Women's Lax Plays Host to Fairfield (03/14) and Colorado (03/16)

Game 8: Friday, March 14 vs. Fairfield
Cowell Stadium  ||  Durham, N.H.  ||  3 pm

Game 9: Sunday, March 16 vs. Colorado
Cowell Stadium  ||  Durham, N.H.  ||  12 pm

The Games
The UNH women's lacrosse team plays host to Fairfield University and the University of Colorado this weekend. The Wildcats battle Fairfield on Friday, March 14 (3 p.m.) and Colorado comes to Durham for a March 16 (12 p.m.) matchup.

On The Air
Both of this weekend's games will be broadcast online by the Lacrosse Radio Network. You can listen by clicking here.

The Series vs. Fairfield
New Hampshire has a 4-2 lifetime record against Fairfield, but the Stags prevailed each of the last two years with a 16-9 win at home in 2013 and an 8-3 road win in 2012. The Wildcats won the initial two meetings in 2004 (18-2) and 2005 (21-5) and then won the next two matchups when the series resumed in 2010 (14-10) and 2011 (12-8). UNH has a 2-1 edge at home.
    In last year's game, the Stags led 5-1 and took an 8-3 advantage into halftime. UNH closed within 9-7 with 20 minutes remaining, but Fairfield responded with three consecutive goals the next eight minutes to push the margin to 12-7. The 'Cats inched within 13-9 but the home team closed the game on a 3-0 run the last five minutes of the game to pull away. Fairfield finished with the edge in shots (28-18), ground balls (16-11) and draw controls (15-12) – and also committed fewer turnovers (9-13).

The Series vs. Colorado
Sunday's game will be the first between the UNH and Colorado women's lacrosse programs.

The State of New Hampshire
UNH enters the weekend with a 3-4 overall record that includes 2-2 at home... The Wildcats have alternated wins and losses the past four games... The 'Cats are coming off a 12-3 win vs. Iona College (March 10) in which they fell behind 3-0 but held the Gaels scoreless the last 26:31 of the game... UNH recorded a season-high 28 shots at Iona; the 17 second-half shots equalled or bettered the team total of four games... The Wildcats tied the season high of 21 ground balls and committed a season-low 11 turnovers against the Gaels... For the first time this season, UNH tallied the edge in draw controls by a 10-7 count at Iona.

'Cat Nips
Sophomore attack Laura McHoul extended her assist streak to six games and point streak to 14 with a six-point (2g, 4a) effort at Iona this past Monday... Junior attack Rachael Nock has recorded exactly one point all seven games this season; Nock recorded a career-high four ground balls and matched a personal best of two draw controls at Iona... Junior midfielder Laura Puccia extended her goal streak to four games with four tallies at Iona; she has 14 points (12g, 2a) in those four games and six multiple-goal games overall in 2014... Puccia also tallied two assists at Iona to match her career high of six points... Senior midfielder Molly Gaffey recorded her first career multiple-goal games with two tallies at Iona; she also had a personal-best three ground balls vs. the Gaels... Junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle has scored a personal-best three goals two of the last three games – March 5 vs. UConn and March 10 at Iona... Sophomore attack Nicole Grote has recorded a point each of the last five games with three multiple-point performances.

Sweet 16
Junior goalkeeper Taylor Hurwitz recorded eight saves in both the first and second halves at 10th-ranked UMass on March 8 to finish with a career-high 16 saves, which marked the highest total by a UNH goalie since April 4, 2007, when Natalie Jones also had 16 saves vs. Vanderbilt.

Century Mark
Laura Puccia needs five points to reach the 100 point milestone. She enters the weekend with 95 points on 82 goals and 13 assists in 40 games.

Top 10
In just 23 career games, Laura McHoul has already entered the program's top 10 career assist list. She is currently No. 10 with 48; directly ahead of her are Kelly Blaney (49) and Ilana Cohen (52). Last year as a freshman, McHoul finished with UNH's second-best single-season assist total of 33.

Home Sweet Home
UNH looks to make its Cowell Stadium debut this weekend. The Wildcats were scheduled to play both the Feb. 15 season opener vs. Hofstra and Feb. 22 game vs. Dartmouth at Cowell Stadium, but wintry conditions forced the relocation of both to Bremner Field.

Seeing Double
New Hampshire is 2-0 when scoring in double digits with an 11-7 win vs. UConn (March 5) and 12-3 victory at Iona (March 10). The Wildcats are winless (0-3) when the opponents scores at least 10 goals.

Possession Game
The battle for ground balls and turnovers is almost even with New Hampshire holding a slim of margin in ground balls (114-104) while committing two more turnovers (124-117), but the opposition has a significant advantage of 83-58 in draw controls.

First Blood
UNH has taken a 1-0 lead just once in seven games, and the Wildcats won that game vs. UConn, 11-7, on March 5. The 'Cats have a 2-4 record when the opposition scores first, as it did both games last week (at 10th-ranked UMass and at Iona).

At the Half
The team leading at halftime has gone on to victory all seven games this season. UNH's largest lead at the half is four goals (6-2) against UConn. New Hampshire's largest deficit has been five goals at then #13 Boston College (9-4) and at #10 UMass (7-2).

Quick Strike
UNH scored 25 seconds into the first half and netted a goal 39 seconds into the second half of the March 5 game vs. UConn. Prior to that Wednesday game, the earliest UNH had scored in the first half was 5:29 elapsed (Feb. 15 season opener vs. Hofstra); that opener had also marked the quickest second-half Wildcats' goal of 2:26 into the half.

What Just Happened
UNH played three games in a six-day span from March 5-10. The stretch began with an 11-7 home win vs. UConn (March 5) and ended with a 12-3 victory at Iona (March 10); in between, the Wildcats lost 12-6 at 10th-ranked UMass (March 8). In the most recent game at Iona, the 'Cats overcame an early 3-0 deficit by scoring 12 consecutive goals en route to the 12-3 win. New Hampshire quickly erased the three-goal deficit with three tallies in a span of 2 minutes, 3 seconds and took its first lead of the game at 12:03 of the first half. The score remained 4-3 until Laura Puccia opened the second half with consecutive goals at 27:36 and 22:07. UNH, which recorded a 17-3 second-half shot advantage, continued to pull away the rest of the way. New Hampshire finished with the edge in shots (28-13), ground balls (21-9), draw controls (10-7) and turnovers (11-13).

What's Next
Following this weekend's home games against Fairfield and Colorado, the Wildcats travel to Philadelphia to play Drexel University on Sunday, March 23 (12 p.m.).

Scouting the Stags
Fairfield University (Fairfield, Conn.) enters Friday's game at UNH with a 3-2 overall record that includes 1-2 on the road. After opening the season with road losses to Hofstra and Rutgers, the Stags defeated Holy Cross, Lehigh and Vermont. In the 10-9 win against UVM last Saturday, Fairfield built a 6-3 lead and held a 6-5 halftime advantage; the home team extended the margin to 10-5 and held off the Catamounts, who pulled within one goal with 55 seconds remaining.
    Melanie Raso has scored 13 of the team's 37 goals and has a team-high 14 points; Raso also leads the Stags in draw controls (10). Julieanne Mascera (5-1-6) and Courtney Chmil (5-1-6) are the next leading scorers. Meghan Reda leads the squad in ground balls (14) and caused turnovers (12). Chelsey Sidaras has played every second in goal; her stats include a 5.80 GAA and .525 save percentage.

Scouting the Buffaloes
The University of Colorado (Boulder, Colo.) – a first year varsity program – travels east to play UMass on Friday before playing UNH on Sunday. The Buffaloes have won three consecutive games to improve to 4-2 overall and they are 2-2 on the road as well as 1-1 in MPSF. Last Saturday, CU recorded its first conference win with a 12-6 victory at Fresno State. Colorado also defeated Regis (13-10) and Temple (15-6), as well as Stetson (12-4) back in the season opener.
    Cali Castagnola (16-4-20), Johnna Fusco (11-8-19) and Marie Moore (14-2-16) are the top point producers; Katie Macleay (8-3-11) has also reached double digits in points. Moore and Fusco rank 1-2, respectively, in draw controls and 3-2 in ground balls. Paige Soenksen has started all six games and has a 10.11 GAA with a .525 save percentage.

All In The (Northwestern) Wildcat Family
UNH head coach Sarah Albrecht and Colorado head coach Ann Elliott were teammates at Northwestern University. Albrecht is a '06 graduate who was a two-time All-America First Team for the Wildcats. Elliott is an '07 grad of NU who was an All-America Third Team honoree as a senior. Both of Elliott's assistant coaches also played at Northwestern –Hannah Nielsen ('09) and Colleen Magarity ('11).

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