April 26, 2008
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The eighth-ranked and first-seeded Boston University lacrosse team takes aim at history as it looks to become the first America East team to win four-consecutive conference titles. The Terriers face third-seeded and 14th-ranked New Hampshire in the tournament championship Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Nickerson Field. The contest marks the 10th-consecutive season Boston University has appeared in the America East title game, battling the Wildcats five times in the championship over last six years. The Terriers hope to reprise a 7-6 win over UNH during the regular season and gain their seventh America East crown.
BU (15-2, 6-0 AE) is riding a 12-game win streak, dating back to March 12. Most recently, the Terriers posted a 16-5 victory over fourth-seeded Albany in the semifinals on Friday. BU tallied 10 of the game's first 11 goals, taking an 11-2 into the break. The Terriers got four more balls by the goalkeeper to open the second half before Albany notched four of the game's final six goals to tighten the score.
Sophomore Traci Landy tied career highs with four goals and five points, while classmate Xan Weitzel also collected five points with two goals and a game-high three assists. Senior co-captain Lauren Morton got the ball past the goalkeeper three times and sophomore McKinley Curro registered two goals and two assists. Junior Sarah Dalton added two goals and an assist to her team lead in goals (55) and points (63). Sophomore Rachel Klein entered another impressive showing in goal, saving five shots on the afternoon. Senior co-captain Molly Collins and junior Kelly Munroe helped the Terriers to a 19-6 advantage in draw controls, with five and four, respectively.
New Hampshire (13-4, 4-2 AE) advances to the championship round after handing Vermont a 15-6 defeat on Friday. It was a tale of two halves, as a tight 4-4 tie in the first 30 minutes before the Wildcats solved the Catamount defense after the break. UNH netted the ball 11 times on 18 shots in the second half, holding UVM to only two goals.
Senior goalkeeper Ashley Milley made 15 saves for the Wildcats on the afternoon, including nine in the second half. Junior Sarah Von Bargen led the UNH offense with five goals, while junior Michaela Hardy and senior Ashley Crook tallied three and two goals, respectively.
Hardy tops the Wildcats with 57 points, bolstered by 50 goals. The junior has also recovered 21 ground balls and caused 25 turnovers. Von Bargen is New Hampshire's second-leading scorer with 36 goals. Sophomore Shaunna Kaplan ties for the team lead with 13 assists, also accumulating 26 ground balls, 28 draw controls and 12 caused turnovers in the Wildcat midfield. Milley, an All-Conference First Team selection, has earned a 13-4 record this season, with a 7.43 goals against average and a .506 save percentage. Hardy, Von Bargen and freshman Allie Duclos also earned America East First Team honors.
UNH was the only team to hold BU under 10 goals this season, as the conference rivals battled to a 7-6 Terrier victory at Nickerson Field on April 12. After the teams played to a 3-3 tie at halftime, the Wildcats opened the second stanza with a goal to put them on top for the first time in the game. However, that lead would be short lived, as BU rattled off four consecutive goals to gain the advantage for good. UNH scored twice more before the conclusion of regulation and threatened to tie the game in the waning seconds, after the Wildcats recovered the ball off an offsides call on the Terriers. But sophomore goalkeeper Rachel Klein made a save on a UNH free-position opportunity and senior co-captain Molly Collins took a charge on the ensuing Wildcat possession to seal the victory for BU.
The Terriers are 15-11 all-time against New Hampshire, including a 15-3 record since 1999. BU has faced the Wildcats five times in the America East championship, taking four of those games. The teams met each year between 2002 and 2006, with UNH winning in 2004. In last year's tournament, the Terriers defeated New Hampshire 16-4 in the semifinals.
The winner of Sunday's competition will go on to face the Northeast Conference's champion in a play-in game, with the victor earning a spot in the NCAA tournament. Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart face-off in the NEC title game, which will take place on Sunday at noon.