Grote Named Top Offensive Player, Puccia Is Top Defensive Player in America East Weekly Awards

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) and Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) of the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team were honored as America East Offensive Player of the Week and Defensive Player of the Week, respectively, by the conference on Monday. 

The duo led the Wildcats to an 18-5 victory against Binghamton University on April 12 in which the team recorded season highs in both goals and draw controls (17) and tied the season high in assists (10). Both Grote and Puccia were instrumental in building a 9-0 lead in the opening 17 minutes of the game.

Grote recorded four goals, three assists, two ground balls, two draw controls and one caused turnover vs. the Bearcats to match her career highs in both goals and points (seven). During UNH's decisive 9-0 run to start the game, the sophomore attack tallied five points, one GB and two DCs. Grote scored the first and third goals – at 28:11 and 25:21, respectively – then set up the seventh and eighth goals (57 seconds apart) before scoring again to give New Hampshire a nine-goal lead at 13:11. 

In the second half, Grote's fourth goal gave UNH a double-digit lead of 13-3 at 26:17 and she set up the Wildcats' 16th goal of the day with nine minutes remaining in the game.

Puccia, a junior midfielder more commonly honored for her offensive contributions, recorded game- and career-highs in both ground balls (four) as well as caused turnovers (four), as well as draw controls (eight). She also scored three goals, including the 100th of her career, and tallied an assist to contribute four points. 

Puccia helped UNH establish control from the opening draw control. During UNH's 9-0 game-opening run, she recorded two ground balls, one caused turnover and three draw controls, including the first two of the game. She also scored goals at 27:38 and 18:30 to give the Wildcats leads of 2-0 and 5-0. Puccia's third goal of the game that gave the home team a 17-5 lead at 6:47 of the second half, was the 100th of her career.

Puccia leads the team in goals (36) and is tied for second in points (42). In other stats, she ranks first in draw controls (51), tied for second in caused turnovers (nine) and is fifth in ground balls (16). In the America East rankings, Puccia is fourth in goals per game (2.77) and eighth in points per game (3.23) as well as third in draw controls (3.92 per game). 

Grote ranks third among Wildcats in assists (11) as well as fourth in both goals (16) and points (27).

New Hampshire (7-7 overall, 2-1 America East) returns to action April 19 (1 p.m.) at Stony Brook University. The Wildcats' next home game is also the regular-season finale Senior Day game against University at Albany on April 26 (12 p.m.).

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