UNH women’s lacrosse: Offensive depth propels strong start to conference play



Joey Rizzi, Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.H. – Describing the start to conference play as good for the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (6-4, 1-0) would be an understatement. The Wildcats continued their success on Saturday, defeating the UMass Lowell (UML) River Hawks (2-8, 0-2) by a score of 12-7 at Wildcat Stadium.  

UNH was ranked sixth out of seven in the America East preseason poll, one spot behind the River Hawks. After failing to reach the playoffs a year ago, UNH enters conference play with a chip on their shoulder. The fired-up group now look destined to exceed pre-season expectations. 

UNH started the game fast with an early 2-0 lead, but the River Hawks bounced back quickly with a 3-0 run to end the quarter. This game quickly turned into a grit and grind game with strong defense early on from both sides.  

“Defense continues to be a staple in our transition game and has been a consistent impact,” said UNH head coach Kacie Lewis.  

That steady defense led to offense the other way and then to a 4-1 second quarter from the ‘Cats, propelling them to a 6-4 lead into halftime. Five different goal scorers in the first half once again proved the depth on this UNH squad and their ability to share the ball. Senior Delaney Pratt was a Swiss-army knife, netting two goals before the midpoint of the game, while showcasing her speed in transition and loose ball situations.  

It was a defensive third quarter, as the Wildcats carried an 8-5 lead into the fourth. This is exactly how UNH likes to play, relying on their touted defense to bring them to the finish. Unexpectedly, the fourth quarter brought the most goals of any quarter, six. Fortunately for UNH, they scored four of those six enroute to their first conference victory of the season.  

“Offensively, we had multiple players contribute and four players with three or more points,” said Lewis. “Having so many threats have allowed us to run offensive sets with multiple options.” 

It’s been one of the storylines all year for this team, and it shows even in the biggest games. UNH’s offense is designed to spread the love and give every player the opportunity to score goals. Pratt and sophomores Mackenzie MacEachern and Kelsey MacCallum have each scored in eight consecutive games. Junior Liv Dunn extended her point streak to seven games.  

After playing four games in a 15-day span, the Wildcats are due for a much-needed break ahead of their next matchup.  

“We’ve had quite a few games back-to-back, so I think everyone is looking forward to having a few days to run through drills and reset before heading into our next game against UAlbany,” Lewis explained.  

The Wildcats will need to finish in the top four in the America East to qualify for the conference tournament. Before the ‘Cats can worry about claiming their first title since 2004, however, they’ll have to finish the regular season strong. No doubt they’re going to benefit from a full week of practice ahead of their next matchup against the UAlbany Great Danes (3-5, 1-0). The conference schedule heats up quickly, and the Wildcats will face five consecutive America East opponents to finish their regular season schedule. 

Photo courtesy of Rick Wilson