UNH women’s lacrosse: Wildcats finding offensive identity with wins over BU, CCSU



Joey Rizzi, Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.H. – After a slow start to their season, the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (3-3, 0-0) have exploded offensively during their current two-game winning-streak. They defeated the Central Connecticut State (CCSU) Blue Devils (0-4, 0-0) on Saturday, March 5, by the large margin of 20-4. 

UNH first found their stride when they took down the Boston University (BU) Terriers (0-5, 0-0) 13-10 on Wednesday prior to the quick turnaround. It was a memorable fourth quarter as the Wildcats scored four unanswered to close out the contest. Sophomore Kelsey MacCallum led the scoring with three goals and two helpers in the win over the Terriers. 

“Today was a big win for us,” said head coach Kacie Lewis. “Our defense came up with some huge plays that really shifted the momentum in our favor at big moments.” 

It was an all-around great effort from the Wildcats, but the notable difference comes with the ascendance of their scoring. UNH struggled early in the year to put the ball in the net. In many instances, they were simply not possessing the ball long enough, leading to a tired defense on their end of the field. Junior Liv Dunn is one of the leaders on offense and noted how they are beginning to flow better offensively. 

“Something Kacie [Lewis] reiterates is reading the opposing defense and seeing where they are, how they’re playing us, etc. and to play off that,” Dunn said. “Also, I just think connections and chemistry on the field don’t happen over night and we’re getting into a rhythm with each other.” 

The ‘Cats had found themselves in an uncomfortable position to begin the year after losing three of their first four games. There was a lack of identity with this team from the start, but it seems the chemistry has improved mightily amongst this group. In the current landscape of women’s lacrosse, there are many offenses relying on formations and motions more than set plays, which Dunn alluded to. When everyone’s moving off ball and finding open space, it forces the defense to move and create open looks all over the field for the Wildcats to score.  

More goals were scored this week by the Wildcats (33), than in the opening four games combined (29). Sophomore Mackenzie MacEachern led the way with seven points against CCSU, but the story has been about the depth on this team. Eleven players found the score sheet on Saturday, with eight of them recording multiple points.  

“We also have a pretty deep offense, most of us don’t play all game, every game which is super cool to see. People come off the bench and score right away and make differences,” Dunn said.  

She also had high praise for the first-year head coach, explaining how things take time to progress, so fortunately the conference schedule comes later in the season. The Wildcats will hope to build off this success, but they certainly don’t want to take these wins for granted. They will try to extend their winning streak to three when the Columbia Lions (2-2, 0-1) come to Durham for a 1 p.m. start on Saturday, March 12.  

Photo courtesy of UNH Athletics