UNH women’s lacrosse: Wildcats drop two against UAlbany and No. 5 Stony Brook in final stretch of season



Joey Rizzi, Sports Writer

DURHAM, N.H. – It was a rock fight in Wildcat Stadium between the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Wildcats (6-6, 1-2) and UAlbany Great Danes (5-6, 3-0) on Wednesday, April 6. Back and forth action yielded the Great Danes a key victory as they strive for upward movement in the America East standings. There was a constant change of pace between these two squads that highlighted a high scoring affair. Familiar faces tallied up the stat sheet for the Wildcats, but it wasn’t enough, as the Great Danes got a much-deserved road victory.

“It was a tight game, but lacrosse is a game of runs and we gave them a lot of shots in a very short period of time,” said UNH head coach Kacie Lewis. “There are a lot of things across the board that we could have executed a little better to narrow that gap.”

A major part of the Wildcats offensive momentum was sophomore Mackenzie MacEachern. Tallying three goals and three assists, she has emerged as the focal point for opposing defenses to worry about. Drawing double teams and forcing early slides have become virtually automatic due to her quick change of pace, setting up other offensive players to succeed.

“The team has also figured out how to work well together and because of that, we are playing better and winning more games this year,” said MacEachern. “Everyone on the team is a threat and they have been playing to their strengths which has made the team more competitive in the America East.”

Lewis alluded to that as well, explaining that the goal of the offense is to make the most out of what everyone’s best at. Utilizing the best attribute of each player offensively is the key to scoring more goals and being more efficient with their opportunities.

Defensively, the Wildcats were not content with allowing passes to the middle of the field after the first quarter, when the Great Danes consistently fed the crease for doorstep goals. A packed-in defense from UNH helped spark transition opportunities and took weight off the shoulders of both senior Issy Torres and first-year netminder Maria Hagan.

Another tough loss followed on Saturday with a defeat to the No. 5 Stony Brook Seawolves (9-2, 2-0). The ‘Cats went down 9-1 by the end of the first quarter, and never quite recovered, losing by a final score of 20-6. Sophomore Kelsey MacCallum netted two, while junior Liv Dunn recorded a goal and an assist.

“The hardest part, I would say honestly, our defense did what they needed to, and our attack didn’t,” said Lewis. “And I think the score doesn’t necessarily reflect that because of how often the ball was on defense and you know, again, against a team like that.”

Lewis recognized how good of a team Stony Brook was, giving credit to a handful of their star players. She felt their defeat on Saturday was certainly not due to a lack of effort. She explained that she was proud of how her team poured their hearts out and did the best they could. The Seawolves have battled with some of the highest quality teams in the country and are undoubtedly the toughest challenge UNH will face all season.

The Wildcats will look to bounce back from an unfortunate week with another conference foe this upcoming Saturday, in the University of Vermont (UVM) Catamounts (9-3, 2-2).

“Defensively they have the number one player in the country for caused turnovers, and they have the number one player in the country for ground balls,” explained Lewis.

She explained that Vermont relies on the power and strength primarily as opposed to being a group that displays only finesse and skill. Lewis has put an emphasis on ground balls and physicality in practice to emphasize this point to her players. The Wildcats will look to play a clean game in terms of limiting turnovers, winning ground ball battles, and outscoring the Catamounts to return to .500 in conference play.

Photo courtesy of China Wong