Lacrosse: Third straight loss for Wildcats

By Josh Sullivan
On March 4, 2014

The Wildcats lacrosse team fell to Lehigh University this past Saturday by a score of 9-5. Despite coming from behind early on to take a 3-2 lead in the first half, Lehigh capitalized when it needed to most, scoring six unanswered goals to hop out and take a commanding lead.

After Lehigh struck first on a free position shot by junior Carli Sukonik, it took 46 seconds for the 'Cats to respond with one of their own, fired home by junior Laura Puccia. After Lehigh and UNH exchanged unassisted goals from Krista Dampman and Kayleigh Hinkle respectively, sophomore Nicole Grote hit the top left corner of the net on a pass behind the net from Laura McHoul for her third goal of the season to push the Wildcats into the lead. 

It was short lived though, as less than two minutes later Lehigh scored two goals on free position shots within 18 seconds, then added two more before the half was over. Sukonik netted herself a natural hat trick by the seven-minute mark, and finished the afternoon with four goals, bringing her season total to 10.

UNH came out firing after halftime, but to no avail as it struggled to get shots past senior Lehigh goalie Alex Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick had nine saves on the day, turning away several golden opportunities the Wildcats threw towards the net that would have changed the mood of the game had they found the back of the net. 

"We didn't help ourselves out enough to take quality shots from the inside," coach Sarah Albrecht said. "That was on everybody."

"We could have thrown more fakes, and a big thing is looking before we shoot," Laura Puccia said. "You just have to look at the net before you shoot, it's that simple."

"We didn't take that extra second to put away our shots," Grote said. 

The Wildcats pushed forward until the very end of the game, cutting Lehigh's lead down to just three goals with 7:17 left, after goals by junior Rachael Nock and Puccia-her eighth on the season and second of the game-but the team fell victim to Lehigh's sturdy defense that held them from scoring any further. 

Both teams played gritty and physically, with the yellow card total ending at 4-3 for Lehigh and two for UNH and Lehigh's first two coming only 10 seconds apart. That physical style of play made it so difficult for the 'Cats to successfully take shots close to the goal.

The 'Cats will look to improve on several things going into their game Wednesday against a struggling UConn team that, like them, only has one win at this point in the season, and is coming off of a brutal 15 -3 loss to Boston College.

"We need to go harder after ground balls," Albrecht said. "We didn't want them badly enough today."

"We need to play better all over the field," Puccia said. "Today's loss wasn't because of any one side of the ball, we need to get the ball up the field and work together."

After the team takes on UConn, at 4 p.m., they will have two road games in three days, taking on UMass-Amherst Saturday and Iona on Monday. Both games will be at 3 p.m.

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