The UNH women's lacrosse team (5-7, 0-1) returns to America East conference play Saturday, April 5 with a road game against UMBC (5-5, 0-1). Game time at UMBC Stadium is 12 p.m.
The Series vs. UMBC
New Hampshire has an 11-1 lifetime record, including 4-1 on the road, against UMBC. UNH has won each of the last two meetings – both by one goal – with a 6-5 road win last year and 12-11 home win in 2012. The Retrievers recorded their only win of the series with a 10-8 victory at UMBC Stadium in 2011. Prior to that, the Wildcats won nine consecutive matchups by an average of 7.55 goals.
Last year at UMBC Stadium, the teams met in the regular-season finale with high stakes – the winner advanced to the America East tournament and the season ended for the other team. UNH trailed 3-1 at halftime and 5-3 midway through the second half, but the Wildcats closed the game on a 3-0 run to record the come-from-behind victory and secure a tourney berth; the 'Cats closed within 5-4 with 15:00 on the clock and leveled the score at 7:54. Kayleigh Hinkle gave UNH its fist lead of the game, 6-5, with 34 seconds remaining and Laura Puccia won the ensuing draw control to secure the win.
The State of New Hampshire
UNH enters the weekend with a 5-7 overall record that includes 2-3 on the road and 0-1 in America East... The Wildcats have lost two straight following their two-game win streak... UNH had not lost back-to-back games since Feb. 20-22-March 1... New Hampshire had won two consecutive road games (12-8 at Drexel, March 23; 12-3 at Iona, March 10) prior to Wednesday's 19-9 loss at former conference rival Boston University... UNH yielded season highs in both goals (19) and shots (41) to BU... UNH had scored in double digits three consecutive games before scoring nine against the Terriers... The 'Cats went 4-4 the month of March... New Hampshire hasn't fared well on Saturday this season with one win in five games.
Junior midfielder Laura Puccia matched her season high of four goals Wednesday (April 2) at Boston University to extend her goal streak to eight games... Sophomore attack Laura McHoul recorded a game-high six points (3g, 3a) at BU; McHoul has led the Wildcats in points each of the last three games and in seven of 12 games this season... McHoul has on a tear the past three games with nine goals and 10 assists for 19 points... McHoul has eclipsed last year's goal total (19 in 2014; 16 in 2013) and is approaching last year's point total (46-49)... Junior midfielder Brooke McGillis led the 'Cats with a season-high four ground balls against the Terriers... Junior goalkeeper Taylor Hurwitz recorded 13 saves at BU to mark her third-highest total of the season and fifth time this year she reached double digits in saves.
Laura McHoul leads the America East conference (through April 3) in assists per game (2.25) and is fifth in points per game (3.83). Taylor Hurwitz is atop the conference leaderboard in saves per game (8.83). Laura Puccia is the top-ranked 'Cat in goals per game at No. 5 (2.82); Puccia is also No. 4 in draw controls (3.45 per game), No. 8 in points (3.27 ppg) and No. 7 in shots (5.00 per game). Kayleigh Hinkle is among the conference leaders in draw controls at No. 5 (3.33).
A pair of Wildcats entered the week among the national leaders. Taylor Hurwitz is No. 6 in saves (93) and No. 22 in saves per game (8.45), and Laura McHoul climbed six spots to 13th in assists per game (2.18).
Junior attack Laura Puccia, who did not play last Saturday vs. Vermont, has the team's longest active point streak of eight games; she has scored at least two goals every game during the streak with a total of 29 points (25g, 4a)... Puccia's eight-game point streak matches the longest of the season established by Laura McHoul, who tallied a point each of the first eight games of the year before being held without a point March 16 vs. Colorado; that game also ended a seven-game assist streak... UNH's second longest active point streak belongs to junior attack Kayleigh Hinkle –six games (9g, 6a); she opened the 2014 season with a point in five consecutive games... Junior midfielder Rachael Nock has been a consistent point producer with a point in 10 of 12 games... Sophomore attack Nicole Grote has tallied a point in 9 of 12 games (12g, 8a)... Senior midfielder Molly Gaffey has 12 points (9g, 3a) in 12 games; in her previous three seasons, she totaled nine points (7g, 2a).
Turned One Century, Closing in on a Second
Laura Puccia recorded her 100th career point with the last of her five points March 14 against Fairfield University at Cowell Stadium. She inched toward the milestone with four goals vs. the Stags and reached the benchmark on an assist with 4:20 remaining in the second half. Puccia enters Saturday's game at UMBC with 95 career goals and 15 assists for 110 points in 44 games (2.50 ppg); she also has 114 career draw controls.
Puccia leads the team in goals (31), free-position goals (five) and shots (55); she ranks second in points (36) and draw controls (38), and her other numbers include a .564 shooting percentage and .891 shots-on-goal percentage. She has scored a season-high four goals four times, including consecutive games against Iona (March 10) and Fairfield (March 14). Puccia is on pace to break her single-season high for goals; she netted 34 goals as a freshman and 30 last year.
Climbing the Ranks
Sophomore Laura McHoul has already entered the program's top 10 career assist list. She supplanted Ilana Cohen (52) at No. 8 with the last of her three assists March 23 at Drexel, which increased her career total to 53. McHoul climbed to No. 5 (60) with the last of her three assists April 2 at Boston U. – Maud Kernan, Laurie Leary and Megan Mangano had been tied at No. 5 with 59. Immediately ahead of McHoul is Liz Brickley at No. 4 (67).
Last year as a freshman, McHoul finished with UNH's second-best single-season assist total of 33. She has 27 assists this season, which ranks No. 6 with Shaunna Kaplan (2010), Karen Geromini (1987) and Kernan (1993). Ahead of that quartet is Katie Leland at No. 5 (29 in 2006) and No. 4 (30 in 2004), as well as Laurie Leary at No. 3 (32 in 1984). The single-season benchmark of 35 was established by Geromini in 1986.
UNH has recorded 65 assists on 97 field goals (goals not scored on a free position), which calculates to 67.0%. In comparison, the opposition has 44 assists on 94 field goals (46.8%). The Wildcats recorded a season-high 10 assists on 11 field goals at Iona College (March 10).
New Hampshire is 4-1 when scoring in double digits and the Wildcats are 1-5 when the opposition scores at least 10 goals. The only loss when UNH netted double figures was a 15-12 decision to Vermont (March 29 at Cowell Stadium).
Get the Ball
Senior defender and captain Jamie DePetris leads the team in ground balls (21) and is tied for second in caused turnovers (eight). Cori Rees, another senior defender and captain, ranks third in GB (19) and has a team-leading nine CTO. Junior midfielders Kayleigh Hinkle and Laura Puccia rank 1-2 in draw controls with 40 and 38, respectively, to account for 78 of UNH's 124 draws (62.9%).
Scouting the Retrievers
UMBC enters Saturday's game with a 5-5 overall record that includes 3-2 at home and 0-1 in America East. The Retrievers opened conference play last Saturday with a 12-1 loss at Stony Brook, which ended UMBC's three-game win streak. UMBC ranks last in the league in offense (7.80 gpg), shots (17.70 per game), ground balls (14.80 per game) and draw controls (7.80 per game).
Abby Wilson leads the team in assists (10) and points (22). Kristen Bilney and Alyssa Semones rank 1-2 in goals with 15 and 14, respectively, and are tied for second in points with 18. Semones also ranks first in ground balls (18) and draw controls (18), as well as second in caused turnovers (seven).
In goal, Anna Barnett has played in eight games (all starts) – a total of 352:18 – and compiled a 3-3 record with an 8.86 GAA and .453 save percentage. Kelly Gielner is 2-2 with a 9.65 GAA and .344 save percentage in eight games (two starts); she has seen 261:16 of action.
GAME NOTES: Women's Lax Resumes Conference Play at UMBC (April 5)