Wildcats falter late against Fairfield
Jenny Simpson and Laura Puccia scored three goals apiece for the University of New Hampshire, but Fairfield University outscored the Wildcats 7-2 in the last 20 minutes of the game to pull away for a 16-9 victory in Saturday afternoon's women's lacrosse game at Lessing Field.
UNH is now 5-10 while Fairfield improves to 10-7.
In addition to Simpson and Puccia, Kayleigh Hinkle and Laura McHoul both recorded three points with three assists apiece. Amber Casiano netted two goals for the fourth consecutive game and Rachael Nock scored UNH's other goal. Kathleen O'Keefe was credited with six saves and team-high three ground balls.
Chloe Mangan (six goals) and Jenna Slowey (three goals) led the Stags' offense while Katie Keenan finished with seven saves and a game-high four ground balls. Mangan was also credited with five draw controls, three ground balls and three caused turnovers.
Slowey's unassisted goal gave Fairfield a 1-0 lead at 27:03 but Puccia, off a feed from McHoul, scored to level the game at 22:50. The Stags outscored the Wildcats 4-0 in a 10-minute span to build a 5-1 advantage. Mangan potted consecutive goals at 21:32 and 19:34 to give the home team a lead it would not relinquish. Kelly Fenton struck at 17:02 to give Fairfield a 4-1 lead and Slowey's free-position goal made it a four-goal game at 11:12.
McHoul recorded her second assist of the game on Casiano's goal at 10:10 that lifted the 'Cats within 5-2. Slowey responded with her third goal of the day to give Fairfield a 6-2 lead at 6:48.
Nock scored on a free-position shot at 5:41 but Amanda Best struck 41 seconds later to reestablish a four-goal cushion of 7-3. Jenna Fuchs, who set up Best's tally, scored just 23 seconds after that to extend Fairfield's lead to 8-3 at 4:37.
The Stags carried that 8-3 lead - as well as the edge in shots (18-6), ground balls (10-6) and draw controls (9-3) - into halftime.
Simpson opened the second-half scoring at 28:41 to trim UNH's deficit to 8-4 but Mangan responded at 26:33 to extend the cushion to five goals.
New Hampshire netted three consecutive goals in less than four minutes to close the gap to 9-7. Simpson's 40th goal of the season - a man-down goal set up by Hinkle - started the run at 23:43. Hinkle then set up Puccia for an even-strength goal at 22:24 and McHoul earned her team-leading 30th assist of the season at 20:32 when Casiano scored a man-up goal.
Chloe scored three consecutive goals the next nine minutes to extend the Stags' advantage to 12-7. She scored on a free position at 19:09, then netted an unassisted goal at 12:59 and struck again with a free-position goal at 11:31.
Simpson ended that streak with her third goal of the half at 10:40 to lift UNH within 12-8, but Fairfield won the ensuing draw control and that led to Best's goal at 7:42.
Puccia responded with a goal less than a minute later to bring the Wildcats within 13-9 at 6:55 but the Stags closed the game on a 3-0 spurt to secure the victory. Caitlin Townsend (at 4:23), Maeve Quinn (2:40) and Olivia Ziegler (1:36) closed the scoring.
Fairfield finished with the edge in shots (28-18), ground balls (16-11) and draw controls (15-12) while committing just nine turnovers in comparison to UNH's 13.
New Hampshire returns to action April 27 at 12 p.m. at UMBC for its regular-season finale.
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