STONY BROOK, N.Y. – Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) recorded four points including a game-high three assists, but the University of New Hampshire women's lacrosse team was defeated 13-5 by Stony Brook University in Friday evening's America East Championship semifinal game at LaValle Stadium.
UNH, the tournament's fourth seed by virtue of a 2-3 America East ledger, ends the 2014 season with a 7-10 overall record. SBU, the top seed and tourney host after going 4-1 in conference play, improved to 15-3 and advanced to Sunday's title tilt.
McHoul extended her UNH single-season assist record to 39 and also scored a goal to finish the season with 60 points' the last Wildcat to reach that milestone was Sarah Von Bargen (71p) in 2009. Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.) extended her goal streak to 13 games and season total to 41 with two goals. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) was credited with eight saves. Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) finished with a game-high six ground balls as well as one draw control and one caused turnover.
Courtney Murphy (six goals) and Michelle Rubino (two goals, one assist) were two of five Seawolves with multiple points. Frankie Caridi made six saves.
UNH, which employed a spread attack to slow the pace of the game and force the SBU defenders to chase the ball, took a 1-0 lead at 21:28. Brooke McGillis (Berwyn, Pa.), from 20 yards on the top-right side, fed a pass to McHoul cutting down the middle and she fired a high shot into the cage.
McHoul, this time from behind the net, found Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.) cutting down the right wing but she was denied from close range by Caridi at 17:10.
Stony Brook called time out at 13:45 and scored three goals in a span of 2:10 to quickly turn a one-goal deficit into a 3-1 lead. Kristin Yevoli leveled the score at 12:21, then Murphy dodged down the middle of the fan and potted a goal at 11:15 on a low shot inside the right post to give the home team a lead it would not relinquish. Alyssa Cardillo, from behind the net, found Emily Mercier alone in the middle of the fan for a 3-1 advantage at 10:11.
Hurwitz made one of her three first-half saves when she denied Murphy at the left doorstep, and that led to a UNH goal at the other end of the field that trimmed the deficit to 3-2 at 8:17. Kayleigh Hinkle (Glenelg, Md.) moved behind the net from left to right and slipped a pass in front to Puccia, who was cutting the opposite direction and rifled a shot into the upper-right corner.
Hurwitz kept the 'Cats within one goal when she stopped Cardillo on a free position from the top-left side at 5:20.
SBU edged ahead, 5-2, with a pair of goals in the last two minutes of the first half. Dorrien Van Dyke raced down the middle of the field in transition, sidestepped a defender to the left from eight yards out and scored at 1:33 for a 4-2 lead. Murphy scored her 50th goal of the season on a free-position from the top of the fan into the lower-left corner with 32 seconds on the clock.
UNH turned the ball over with less than 20 seconds, but Hurwitz stoned Murphy with six seconds on the clock to keep the margin at three goals heading into halftime. SBU recorded the first-half edge in shots (11-5). The other stats were relatively even with UNH holding an 8-7 edge in ground balls and the draw controls level at four.
Stony Brook's Alyssa Fleming was issued the first yellow card of the game at 26:06 of the second half and New Hampshire capitalized to pull within 5-3 at 24:18. McHoul, positioned behind the left post, snapped a pass to Puccia in front and she placed a shot from four yards inside the lower-right corner.
Murphy scored her third goal of the game to reestablish a three-goal margin of 6-3 at 23:05 when she cut down the right side and one-timed Cardillo's pass from behind the net.
Less than two minutes later, McHoul was 15 yards out on the right wing and passed the ball in the middle to Puccia, whose shot from eight yards sailed wide left.
Rubino's unassisted goal on a drive down the middle and shot into the upper-right corner extended the Seawolves' lead to 7-3 at 18:42.
UNH called a timeout and responded with a goal at 17:17. McHoul once again was set up deep on the right wing and Emma Kriss (Rockville Centre, N.Y.) caught the centering pass seven yards out, continued toward goal and beat Caridi for her third goal of the season.
Midway through the second half, UNH had an extended possession that generated three shots, but the 'Cats did not reduce the deficit as Gaffey's free-position shot sailed wide left, then Rachael Nock (Severna Park, Md) and Puccia were turned aside by Caridi.
SBU corralled the ground ball off Puccia's shot and that led to Van Dyke's unassisted goal at 12:46 that gave the Seawolves an 8-4 advantage.
Hurwitz once again kept New Hampshire within striking distance when she blocked aside Rubino's shot toward the right post at 11:30 and then Van Dyke's free-position shot headed for the left post.
SBU regained possession, however, and Murphy scored on a free position to increase the margin to 9-4 at 9:33.
UNH continued to fight back and clawed within 9-5 at 8:25 when McHoul curled behind the net to the left post and connected with Nock, who sliced down the middle of the fan and scored her 13th goal of the season.
Stony Brook outscored the 'Cats 4-0 the rest of the way, however, to secure the win. Rubino struck 62 seconds after Nock to push the lead to 10-5. The Seawolves won the ensuing draw control and called time out at 7:15. Murphy then scored at 6:54 and 3:22 before Kelly Kuerner capped the scoring with 57 seconds remaining in the game.
SBU tallied a 15-8 shot advantage in the second half for an overall edge of 26-13. The home team also finished with the advantage in ground balls (16-13), draw controls (16-13) and caused turnovers (10-15).
The season's end also marks the end of Wildcat careers for six seniors – Gaffey, Megan Bozek (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.), Jamie DePetris (Radnor, Pa.), Cara Dowdle (Northbrook, Ill.), Cori Rees (East Hampstead, N.H.) and Ally Stager (Reading, Mass.).