Lacrosse: 'Cats come up short in season finale versus Albany
Not only did the UNH lacrosse team lose to No. 20 Albany in their home Saturday afternoon, but it also downpoured on the Wildcats as they swallowed a 19-5 loss.
That didn't take away from an emotional senior day.
"Definitely emotional moment," senior Cara Dowdle said. "I mean, when we went into the locker room, me and Molly [Gaffey] initially started crying because it kind of hit us that this was our last game at UNH, and our lacrosse career is ultimately ending, because this team has basically become a family, and a lot of these girls, I won't be able to see them."
On the grassy slope that lay in front of the Whittemore Center, the seniors' numbers were painted in large print. After the game, the seniors' names were called out over the sound system, their bio's briefly told as they walked out to meet their families in the middle of the field, all in spite of the pouring rain.
"I think it's a celebration of what the seniors have accomplished in their four years, so I think it's a positive day in that sense," head coach Sarah Albrecht said.
On the field, the Great Danes outplayed the Wildcats, with UNH's record slipping to 7-9 at the hands of a team who had only lost two games all season.
"You know, they're a good squad," Albrecht said. "They have a lot of weapons and they were able to use their weapons to their advantage. It was a matter of us really baring down an grinding it out and unfortunately we didn't do that."
The Wildcats were down 9-3 with 4:34 to play in the first half when Laura Puccia notched her 39th goal of the season, bringing UNH within five. In the play that followed, Albany took three shots on net and missed. It appeared that the Wildcats were going to be able to take advantage and bring the play back their way. However, Albany's Allie Phelan received a pass and moved swiftly into the front of the net. She took a hard shot that Huwitz couldn't react to, making the score 10-4 at the half.
The Great Danes ran away with the game in the second half. Despite the efforts of McHoul in the first half, Albany scored nine goals in the second half, including seven unanswered.
McHoul tallied her 39th assist of the year, setting the UNH record for assists in a single season.
The players did not want to end their season, but they acknowledged that it's not the worst thing for them to take a loss before going into the playoffs.
Cori Rees recalled their loss to Lehigh this season. It was their third straight loss, and it made for an emotional turning point in the season. The next week, they beat Connecticut 11-7.
"We really wanted to turn it around for Lehigh, and that was a disappointing loss so I think that it fueled our fire for the chance to give it all we could," Rees said. "So I think that this is a situation where we're disappointed that our senior year day we didn't really come out as ready to play as we could have and just given us more motivation for the playoffs."
The Wildcats take on Stony Brook this Saturday in the America East Semifinal.
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