WEST HARTFORD, CONN. – University of New Hampshire (UNH) women’s lacrosse (3-4,2-3) traveled to Hartford (0-7,0-7) for their first game in two weeks. Head coach Sarah Albrecht was thrilled to be back on the field.
“It felt great. It has been a long couple weeks,” coach Albrecht said. “It was good to be out there with that crew and dust off some of the rust that we had.”
The Wildcats bested the Hawks 12-8 with help from junior goalie Issy Torres who made eight of her 11 saves in the second half. Torres was named the America East Defensive Player of the Week after her performance.
The first half of play went back and forth. Graduate student Rylee Leonard helped set up the ‘Cats first goal when she passed to sophomore attacker Liv Dunn who scored less than two minutes into the game.
Under three minutes later Hartford senior Megan Miller tied the score at one with help from senior attacker Debbie Phillips.
UNH ran the score up with two unassisted goals from Leonard and senior midfielder Elizabeth Blanding to make the score 3-1 with 22 minutes to go in the first half.
The Hawks got their offense going after Blanding’s goal when they netted three consecutive goals. Senior attacker Birdie Montes got things started for Hartford with 17:28 to go in the half with an assist from junior midfielder Jessica Harrison. Phillips scored next in the 15th minute and Montes scored again in the 20th.
Hartford’s three goal stretch put them up 4-3 until just a few minutes later when Leonard found Dunn for the second time of the game to tie the score at four.
About two minutes later the two hooked up once again, but this time Dunn assisted Leonard to put the ‘Cats up by one score with 4:43 remaining in the first half.
The Wildcats lead did not last long as sophomore midfielder Shannon Tuozzo found Phillips for her second goal of the day to tie the score at five about two minutes before halftime.
The final goal of the half came with just under a minute to go when first-year attacker Kelsey MacCallum got her first career goal. This put UNH up 6-5 at halftime.
UNH kicked the second half off hot with three straight goals. In the 44th minute MacCallum found junior midfielder Emily Curtis for the score. The stretch continued with two unassisted goals from senior midfielder Julia Neyland. Her first at 45th minute followed by one at 47th putting the ‘Cats up 9-5.
Hartford junior Taylor Calvagna scored twice in a row with help from Miller in the 47th minute and Montes in the 51st to bring the deficit to two goals.
Neyland scored her third unassisted goal of the game with 7:31 to play making the score 10-7.
The final Hartford goal of the game came when Miller connected with Montes to bring the score to 10-8.
The game was finished up with two more unassisted goals from Neyland giving her five in one-half. One with 4:00 to go and the other with just one second remaining.
Head coach Albrecht expressed how her team was able to pull away after a close first half.
“It was mostly us clicking again, and us getting back on the field and starting to get into that groove again. It is just chipping away and having not been on the field for a couple of weeks definitely hurts you,” explained Albrecht.
She continued, “We definitely need to put away our shots. It was good that we had opportunities but we need to finish on those opportunities. On the defensive side we need to up our communication and capitalize on ground balls and being able to transition up the field. I’m confident that they can move forward this week, and get better with everything that I said.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICHELLE BRONNER.