Lacrosse: No. 17 Stony Brook takes down UNH

Bret Belden


Laura Puccia scored two goals but the University of New Hampshire women’s lacrosse team was upended 13-4 by 17th-ranked Stony Brook University in Saturday afternoon’s America East conference opener at Cowell Stadium.

UNH is now 3-6 overall and 0-1 in America East. SBU, which ended the game on an 8-0 run spanning the last 27 minutes, remains unbeaten at 7-0, 1-0. Stony Brook registered the edge in shots (22-10) and draw controls (12-7) and committed fewer turnovers (4-10), while the Wildcats had an 8-7 advantage in ground balls.

Puccia recorded a team-high two points with the two goals. Becca Graves  and Marissa Gurello scored UNH’s other goals. Rachael Nock tallied an assist, three ground balls and two caused turnovers while Devan Miller finished with three draw controls and one ground ball. Kate Clancy was credited with six saves.

Courtney Murphy (3g, 1a) and Taylor Ranftle (4a) led the Seawolves’ offense. Amber Kupres (3g), Kylie Ohlmiller (1g, 2a), Dorrien Van Dyke (2g) and Natalie Marciniak (1g, 1a) also tallied multiple points. Kupres also contributed three ground balls and three draw controls. Kaitlyn Leahy made two saves.

Both teams employed a patient, perimeter-passing offense in a low-scoring first half. Kayleigh Hinkle won the game’s opening draw control and, from behind the net, she found Puccia in the middle of the fan for a goal on the first shot of the game and 1-0 lead at 27:12.

SBU’s Rubino won the ensuing draw, cut from the left wing to the middle and fired a shot into the cage from close range to tie the score, 1-1, nine seconds later at 27:03. The Seawolves won the next draw and Ohlmiller set up Murphy to give the visitors a 2-1 lead at 26:13.

Stony Brook again controlled the draw, but Clancy kept the ‘Cats within a goal when she denied Van Dyke at 24:52. The teams exchanged possessions, and then Laura McHoul found Nicole Grote dodging down the middle of the fan and she fired a shot off the right post. Nock corralled the ground ball, however, and that led to Puccia’s free-position goal on a high shot from the top-left of the fan that leveled the score, 2-2, at 18:32.

The Seawolves gained possession on a turnover at 14:32 and quickly advanced the ball downfield to gain a free position at 14:23. Rantfle, from the top-left side, opted to pass low to Murphy on the near side and she scored to give SBU a lead it would not relinquish, 3-2, at 14:20.

Clancy denied Murphy at 12:09 and Carly Wooters gathered the ground ball to give possession to New Hampshire. The Wildcats lost the ball within 30 seconds, however, and Rantfle, from behind the net, slipped a pass in front to Kupres for the goal at 4-2 advantage at 10:38.

UNH closed within 4-3 when Nock’s caused turnover and ground ball led to Grote, set up on the right wing, hit Gurello cutting down the middle for her third goal of the season at 4:07.

Clancy once again turned away Murphy — this time on a free position — and Miller picked up the ground ball at 3:43. At the other end of the field, Marina Mestres drew a charge against Graves to give possession back to the Seawolves, who cleared the ball the length of the field and eventually the combination of Rantfle and Kupres combined once again to give SBU a 5-3 lead with 53 seconds remaining in the first half.

The second half started with Miller corralling the draw control for the ‘Cats, who worked the ball around the perimeter. Nock, from outside the fan on the top-left side, snapped a pass to the middle of the fan, where Graves blasted a shot into the cage to lift UNH within 5-4 at 27:16.

SBU responded with goals by Murphy at 26:38 and Van Dyke at 25:04 to extend the margin to 7-4.

The Seawolves called their first timeout at 20:46 but lost the ball on a ground ball by Francesca LoVerde at 19:57. UNH once again went into a deliberate offensive set, and Hinkle sliced from the right wing toward the middle of the fan before firing a shot that was stopped by Leahy at 16:58.

SBU pushed the lead to 8-4 at 15:39 when Rantfle’s pass from behind the net connected with Kupres in front.

Puccia won the draw and UNH called time out at 15:01. Puccia sliced through the right side and ripped a shot that was stopped by Leahy. The Seawolves cleared the ball to the opposite end, where Murphy was stoned in front by Clancy at 13:37 and Teagan Northrup gathered the rebound.

The ‘Cats, still within striking distance, lost possession two minutes later. Murphy’s free-position shot at 10:46 was blocked and Wooters scooped up the ground ball to give the ball back to UNH. Grote’s shot from the middle of the fan sailed wide left and a Seawolves’ player was closest to the ball as it went out-of-bounds at 8:21. Stony Brook converted that possession into Ohlmiller’s goal at 6:58 and the lead grew to 10-4 when Van Dyke struck at 5:00.

The visitors once again controlled the draw and called a timeout at 3:36, which led to Kristin Yevoli’s goal and 11-4 advantage at 2:53. The next draw control also went to Stony Brook and Clancy recorded her third save of the half by stopping Yevoli’s free-position shot.

UNH committed another turnover before recording a shot, however, and that led to Samantha DiSalvo’s goal with 58 seconds remaining. Marciniak, who assisted on that tally, scored 37 seconds later to cap the scoring.

 New Hampshire returns to action March 28 (12 p.m.) at the University at Albany. The Wildcats’ next home game is April 4 against UMBC; game time at Cowell Stadium is 6 p.m.