DURHAM, N.H. -- Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) and Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) both reached career milestones and Nicole Grote (Ellicott, Md.) tied career highs with four goals and seven points in an 18-5 University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse victory against conference rival Binghamton University at Memorial Field on Saturday.
UNH, which recorded season highs in goals (18), draw controls (17) and tied its high in assists (10), won its second consecutive game to improve to 7-7 overall and 2-1 in America East, as well as 13-0 lifetime against the Bearcats. Binghamton's overall record drops to 6-7, while remaining a winless 0-3 against conference foes.
Puccia's three goals boosted her career total to 100. She also tallied an assist and career highs in ground balls (four), draw controls (eight) and caused turnovers (three). Hinkle scored two goals and dished out five assists, compiling a career-high seven-point performance. She now has 50 goals and 51 assists for 101 points.
A total of nine Wildcats recorded a point. Marissa Gurello (Manorville, N.Y.) marked career highs in goals (three) and points (three). Becca Graves (Rowley, Mass.; two goals) and Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.; one goal, one assist) also finished with multiple points. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) was credited with three saves each half for a total of six.
Binghamton starting goalie Erin McNulty surrendered 11 goals and made six saves in two stints totaling 38:36; she was charged with the loss. Kara Pafumi stopped two of nine shots on goal in her 21:24 relief stint. Renee Kiviat led the offense with three goals.
UNH scored the first nine goals of the game and took an early 1-0 lead at 28:11 when Grote buried a shot after cradling a pass from McHoul in front of the net. On a free position from the top of the fan, Puccia bounced a shot into the cage for a 2-0 lead just 23 seconds later. Hinkle tallied her first point of the game when her pass from the left wing set up Grote in front at 25:21 and Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.) netted a free-position goal at 24:02 to extend the margin to 4-0.
The Wildcats fed off their early momentum. McGillis forced a turnover and gathered the ground ball at 18:54 and on the following UNH possession, Puccia fired a shot past McNulty, scoring her second goal of the game to extend UNH's lead to 5-0 at 18:30.
Continuing to pepper the net with shots, UNH struck again at 17:35 on McHoul's free-position shot from the top right that she fired into the upper-right corner. Hinkle scored at 15:20 after catching a Grote pass, extending the lead to 7-0. Grote set up Gurello's first goal of the game at 14:23 and then scored – with Hinkle's assistance – at 13:11 to push the margin to nine.
Kiviat scored the Bearcats' first goal on a free-position shot at 11:41, making the score 9-1. New Hampshire's defense had held Binghamton scoreless through the game's first 18:19, which extended its opponents' scoreless streak to 71:32 dating back to the previous game at UMBC. Jocelyn Penteck scored just 30 seconds later, however, to make it a 9-2 game.
UNH recaptured the momentum less than a minute later. Puccia fed Gurello at 10:43, bringing the Wildcats ahead 10-2. New Hampshire led Binghamton, 11-2, at halftime following a free-position goal by Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) at 2:42. The home 'Cats also had the edge in shots (19-7), ground balls (9-6) and draw controls (9-5).
Kiviat opened the second half scoring, gathering a pass from teammate Angela Vespa and shot one past Hurwitz to narrow UNH's lead to 11-3 at 28:15.
New Hampshire answered with four straight goals to build a double-digit lead it would not relinquish. Hinkle highlighted the sequence with assists 33 seconds apart on goals by Gurello (at 26:50) and Grote (26:17), followed by her second goal of the game and 100th career point at 23:56. Graves made it 15-3 just 17 seconds later on an unassisted man-up goal.
The Bearcats closed within 15-5 on consecutive goals by Valerie DeNapoli and Kiviat at 20:29 and 12:38, respectively.
The Wildcats closed the game on a 3-0 run the last nine minutes. Devon Croke (Norwell, Mass.) finished a feed from Grote at 9:00 to score her second goal of the season, and then Puccia scored in front of the net on a high shot at 6:47 to record her 100th career goal. Graves converted Hinkle's pass into a goal at 4:10 to close the scoring.
UNH finished with the advantage in shots (31-15), ground balls (15-10) and draw controls (17-8). The turnovers were even at 16.
New Hampshire returns to action April 19 (1 p.m.) at Stony Brook University. The Wildcats then conclude the regular season with Senior Day on April 26 against the University at Albany; game time at UNH's Memorial Field is 12 p.m.