Multi-talented Cohen continues to lead UNH in senior year

By Kyle Cormier
On April 13, 2012

  • The Scott Hall lawn ice rink is currently being taken down. Julie Fortin/Staff

Senior midfielder Ilana Cohen passed the 100-point mark last Wednesday as the UNH women's lacrosse team fell, 13-8, at Boston University. Cohen became the second member of the team to hit the mileston this season, as one of her co-captains, Kate Keagins, accomplished the feat in February during a win over Connecticut. 

For Cohen, the milestone came with 14:55 remaining in the second half, as she hit freshman Laura Puccia with a pass in front of the BU net that Puccia sent home for her third goal of the game. Cohen acknowledged her accomplishment but was clear that it was not in the front of her mind during the game. 

"It's definitely a great accomplishment, but when you're playing in the game you're not really thinking about the points," she said. "It's all about winning the game."

The assist also sealed Cohen's ninth multi-point game in 11 games this season. She tallied a goal later in the second half on a free position shot, and added four more points in this past Saturday's game at Lehigh to now give her 105 points for her career.

Cohen's success in lacrosse dates back to her high school days in Andover, Mass. There, at Andover High School, she was an All-Conference selection and the Most Valuable Player of the Merrimack Valley League as a senior captain in 2008.

However her game has hit another level while at UNH, where she has been a major contributor to the team in all of her four seasons, something head coach Michael Daly attributes to her similarity to a five-tool player in baseball.

"She can make people better by her passing, she's a playmaker, she's a scorer, she's a defender, she really does it all," Daly said. "We've gotten everything out of her in her four years to help this team be successful, and she's a reason we've had a lot of success."

Her point output has improved substantially over her time in a Wildcat uniform, going from 15 points her freshman year to 37 points last season as a junior. Cohen's improvement throughout her UNH career can be illustrated not just by her point totals, but by her postseason honors as well. Following her freshman year in 2009 she was named to the America East All-Rookie team. As a sophomore she earned All-Conference Second Team recognition, and finally last season she was recognized with First Team honors.

Cohen's increased production over her four years has come as the style of her game has changed.

"I came in freshman year as more of a defensive player, and developed as more of an attacker as they years went on," she said. 

The development of her playing style is not the only thing that has contributed to her success; it has also been her drive to succeed.

"Knowing in the back of your mind that everyone is working just as hard as you so you have put in that extra effort to get to play and to be on the field," Cohen said.

Daly shares a similar feeling on Cohen's work ethic.

"She leads by example and puts her heart and soul into everything she does for this team," he said. "She makes everybody around her better. Those players are rare to find."

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