DURHAM, N.H. – Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md.) scored a career-high four goals and Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded six points to spearhead the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team's comeback, but the University of Vermont fended off the Wildcats for a 15-12 victory Saturday afternoon at Cowell Stadium.
UNH, which entered the game on a two-game win streak, is now 5-6 overall and 0-1 in America East. Vermont extended its win streak to three games to improve to 10-2 overall and 1-0 in America East; it marks the first time in program history the Catamounts have reached double-digit wins in a season.
The four points were also a career high for Nock, while McHoul finished with two goals and four assists. Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.; two goals, one assist), Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) and Becca Graves (Rowley, Mass.) also tallied multiple points. Hinkle was also credited with six draw controls. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) made eight saves.
UVM was led offensively by Marcie Marino (4g), Erica Estey (3g, 1a) and Sydney Mas (3g, 1a). Mas also recorded game highs in both draw controls (seven) and ground balls (three). Mackenzie Maher made nine of her 12 saves in the second half.
The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead at 27:32 of the first half when McHoul, from behind the net, slipped a pass to Grote curling around the right post and she fired a shot inside the near side.
Vermont scored four consecutive goals – the first three in a span of 71 seconds – to take a lead it would not relinquish. Roach ignited the run on a cut from the right wing to the middle of the fan, where she fired a shot under the crossbar to tie the score, 1-1, at 26:40. Estey scored 24 seconds later and then Marino netted consecutive goals at 25:28 and 22:15 – the latter coming on a free position – to give the visiting 'Cats a 4-1 lead.
Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) pulled New Hampshire within 4-2 at 20:28. From the top-right of the fan, Hinkle advanced the ball to the middle of the fan and Gaffey fired a high shot into the net.
UVM responded with five goals in as many minutes to build a 9-2 advantage. Mas sliced down the right side of the fan, dropped her crosse low and shot low into the net for a 5-2 margin at 19:56. Marino struck again 45 seconds later and Estey potted her second goal of the game at 16:50 to give the Catamounts a 7-2 lead. Vanessa VanderZalm potted back-to-back goals at 16:29 and 14:22 – with the assistance of Mas and Estey, respectively – to give the visitors the largest lead of the game.
Graves ended the run when she dodged down the middle of the fan and rifled a high shot into the net at 11:09. McHoul netted an unassisted goal at 5:47 to lift UNH within 9-4 and prompt UVM to call a timeout.
Mas once again dropped low and bounced a grounder for a goal to give the Catamounts a 10-4 lead at 1:41.
UVM won the ensuing draw control, but Jamie DePetris (Radnor, Pa.) recorded one of her three caused turnovers and Cara Dowdle (Northbrook, Ill.) gathered the ground ball to give possession to UNH with 42 seconds remaining. The Wildcats cleared the ball into the attack zone and, with Maher out of position, McHoul took aim from 30 yards on the left wing and bounced a shot into the open cage to make it 10-5 with 34 seconds on the clock.
McHoul then won the ensuing draw control, advanced down the middle of the field and passed the ball to the right wing, where Nock one-timed a shot for a goal that trimmed the deficit to 10-6 with 25 seconds remaining in the first half.
The combination of McHoul-to-Grote that produced the first goal of the game also notched the initial goal of the second half – this time Grote one-timed a shot at the left post – to pull UNH within 10-7 at 26:50.
Hinkle was awarded a free position at the top of the fan and fired a low shot inside the right post at 21:59 to reduce UVM's lead to 10-8 and force the visitors to call another timeout.
UNH's 6-1 spurt spanning the first and second halves was halted by back-to-back free-position goals by Mas and Karli MacKendrick at 20:20 and 17:25, respectively, that extended the Catamounts' lead to 12-8.
Following a UVM turnover in which Nock corralled the ground ball, the Wildcats quickly counterattacked and Graves was awarded a free position. From the top-right side, she converted that opportunity into her second goal of the game and a 12-9 score at 16:01.
Hurwitz kept the margin at three goals when she denied VanderZalm at 15:32 and Roach on a free-position shot at 13:58. At the other end of the field, McHoul, deep on the left wing, connected with Nock cutting through the near side and her one-timer found the back of the net to lift New Hampshire within 12-10 at 13:10.
Roach was once again denied by Hurwitz on a free position at 10:38. UVM retained possession, but then DePetris caused another turnover and gathered the ground ball to give possession to the Wildcats.
Maher preserved the Catamounts' two-goal cushion with a save against Nock at 8:27 and Graves at 5:49. UVM regained possession with just over five minutes remaining and, with UNH pressuring to force a turnover, Estey scored into an open net for a 13-10 lead at 3:11.
Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) gained control of the ensuing draw, and that led to a prolonged UNH attack in which Grote fired wide and then Maher made consecutive stops to deny McHoul, Gaffey and Grote. Vermont's Taylor Pedersen then forced a turnover and corralled the loose ball to give the visitors possession with 1:24 to play.
UVM cleared the ball the length of the field and Marino scored at 1:14 to give the visitors a 14-10 advantage. Mas won the draw control and Roach scored into an open net to extend the margin to 15-10 with 45 seconds on the clock.
Hinkle won the next draw and set up Nock's one-timer to lift the Wildcats within four goals with 26 seconds to go. Hinkle once again won the draw and Nock struck again – this time unassisted on a drive through the fan – to close the scoring, 15-12, with nine seconds remaining.
UNH recorded a 17-11 shot advantage in the second half for a 33-27 edge overall, and the Wildcats also had the 14-9 edge in ground balls. UVM finished with more draw controls (16-13) and fewer turnovers (11-13).
New Hampshire returns to action April 2 (4 p.m.) at Boston University. The Wildcats' next home game is April 12 (12 p.m.) vs. Binghamton University.