Grote boosts UNH to shutout win over Iona
Nicole Grote recorded seven points to propel the offense while Kathleen O'Keefe and Taylor Hurwitz combined to shut out Iona College in the University of New Hampshire's 16-0 victory in Wednesday afternoon's women's lacrosse game at Memorial Field.
UNH won its second consecutive home game and recorded its third win in the past four games to improve to 3-6 overall. Iona fell to 2-8 with its fifth consecutive loss.
Grote tallied three goals and a career-high four assists to finish with a personal best of seven points. There were four other multiple-point scorers for the Wildcats - Laura Puccia (four goals), Jenny Simpson (three goals), Becca Graves (career-high three goals) and Kayleigh Hinkle (one goal, two assists).
Hinkle extended her team-best point-scoring streak to 13 games with her three-point effort, while Simpson's goal-scoring streak was pushed to 10 games. Amber Casiano and Rachael Nock were the other goal scorers. Emma Kriss recorded her first point as a Wildcat with an assist.
O'Keefe, who started the game, was not credited with a save in 30 minutes but was credited with the victory. Hurwitz stopped three shots in the second half.
Iona starting goalkeeper Maria Ortiz played the first half and final 17 minutes of the second half; in 47 minutes, she made nine saves, allowed 11 goals and tallied a team-high four ground balls. Blaire Nathanson opened the second half in goal and stopped two of seven shots on goal before Ortiz reentered the game.
UNH recorded the advantage in shots (35-6, including 20-1 in the first half), ground balls (18-13) and draw controls (13-5) while committing fewer turnovers (12-22).
Grote gave the 'Cats a 1-0 lead at 27:05 of the first half on a shot from the right wing under the crossbar. Puccia extended the advantage to two goals at 22:40. Grote, on the right wing, passed to Simpson, curling around the near post, and she scored on a low shot to put UNH in front 3-0 at 16:02.
Iona called time out, but Hinkle gained possession of the ensuing draw control. She drove the right side of the fan and ripped a shot into the upper-right corner to increase the cushion to 4-0 at 14:35.
The Gaels' Mary Kate McCormick controlled the draw, and that led to the visitor's only shot of the first half, which was fired wide by Meghan Testoni at 13:35.
Simpson struck again at 9:35 for her 25th goal of the season and a 5-0 UNH lead. Ortiz made two saves before Grote's second goal of the game extended the advantage to six goals at 5:36.
Nock, driving down the middle of the fan, collected a pass from Grote and fired a shot into the cage to give New Hampshire a 7-0 lead at 4:07. Puccia, on another curl around the right post, scored with 59 seconds on the clock to close the first half scoring.
Puccia once again curled around the right post and scored on a low shot to give UNH a 9-0 lead at 28:57 of the second half. Jamie DePetris won the ensuing draw control and then Grote, alone at the right post, one-timed Hinkle's crossing pass into an open net for a 10-goal advantage at 27:32.
DePetris once again controlled the draw, and this time Grote set up Simpson for her third goal of the game and the team's 11th at 25:51. Graves, in her season debut, potted an unassisted goal to give UNH a 12-0 lead at 24:35.
Iona was awarded a free position at 19:32, but McCormick's shot from the top of the fan sailed wide right. The Gaels retained possession, and Brittney Mabus fired a shot high at 18:40.
Chelsea Cyester was positioned behind the net to gain possession for UNH. The 'Cats cleared the ball to the other end of the field, where Grote set up Graves' goal at 17:00 for her fourth assist of the game and a 13-0 advantage.
Casiano finished a feed from Hinkle at 8:30, Puccia potted her fourth goal of the game at 4:00, and Graves, off a pass from Kriss, closed the game scoring with 31 seconds remaining.
It marked the eighth shutout in UNH history and the first since April 2002 (23-0 win vs. Binghamton University); the other six shutouts occurred between the 1977-81 seasons.
New Hampshire returns to action April 3 at home against the University of Vermont. Game time at Cowell Stadium is 3 p.m.
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