‘Cats clinch last second victory
Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, March 21, 2013 23:03
The University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team played against the Columbia University Lions on Wednesday to claim its second consecutive win of the season. The Wildcats came up big, as they battled it out until the very last second to pull out a 12-11 victory, improving their record to 2-5.
The game was originally scheduled for 11 a.m., but due to the snow conditions, it was pushed back until noon. With many hard at work plowing and preparing the field to get the game in, the Wildcats geared up in the brisk cold, not letting the weather diminish their performance.
“There were a lot of factors that came into play today, but it was all about staying focused,” Head Coach Sarah Albrecht said.
Although weather conditions were not up to par, the Wildcats made this game exciting with fans at the edge of their seats until the very end.
New Hampshire started the first period attacking the net right away, scoring four goals within the first ten minutes.
Contributing to this aggressive lead was sophomore midfielder Laura Puccia, senior captain attack Jenny Simpson, and freshman attack Laura McHoul, with the third goal coming off one of Columbia’s players.
Keeping the ‘Cats on top, Jenny Simpson and Laura McHoul each scored again, making the score 6-2 by the end of the first period. Goalkeeper Kathleen O’Keefe stayed strong in net, making five clean saves in the first half.
During the second period there was more action from Columbia’s offense.
Within a minute into the period, a shot got by O’Keefe and Columbia started to catch up. With back-to-back goals from sophomore midfielder Rachael Nock and junior midfielder Molly Gaffey, the ‘Cats had a solid lead when the momentum shifted.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, the Lions scored two more, making the score 8-5.
The Lions continued their streak in the second period with three consecutive goals with only eight minutes left putting the score at 10-9.
“We came out tentative,” Albrecht said. “Columbia is a good team, and by the end of the game it felt like we were scratching out.”
UNH tried to take advantage of every opportunity it had on offense. Nock was able to make one more in net, increasing the score to 11-9 with 4:51 remaining. Just 11 seconds later, Columbia’s Ashley Rinere fired one into the mesh cutting UNH’s lead down to one.
Then, with only 1:29 remaining the Lions’ senior midfielder Kelly Buechel score, with a score now tied at 11-11.
“We realized how much we had to step up (after the tying goal),” Simpson said.
The Wildcats did just that, as sophomore Kayleigh Hinkle picked up the ground ball around the twelve-meter mark with ten seconds left. Then, as time expired Hinkle bounced the ball into the cage to lift UNH to a 12-11 victory.
“I didn’t know the ball actually went in,” Hinkle said regarding the game-winning goal. “When they called it a goal I was just very relieved that we didn’t have to go into overtime and that we pulled out the close win.”
“It was good to see Hinkle step up and go in confidently,” Albrecht said. “She has always been a consistent force.”
The Wildcats will be looking to continue its recent run of success when they travel to Albany, N.Y. on Sunday to kickoff America East action against Albany.
“I hope we take the momentum we’ve gained from winning two straight and keep winning in conference starting this weekend,” Hinkle said.