No. 20 Great Danes Race by UNH to Earn Share of AEast Title

DURHAM, N.H. - Laura McHoul (Westwood, Mass.) broke the program's record with a total of 36 single-season assists, but New Hampshire fell 19-5 to 20th-ranked Albany at Memorial Field on Saturday.

UNH closes its regular season at 7-9 overall and 2-3 in America East. The fourth-seeded Wildcats will play top-seeded and host Stony Brook University in a Friday, May 2 semifinal game at LaValle Stadium; game time is 5:00 p.m. Albany increased its record to 13-2, 4-1; the Great Danes tied SBU for the America East regular-season title and, as the second seed, will play third-seeded University of Vermont in Friday's second semifinal game.

McHoul initially had 33 season assists at the start of the game, and had an even benchmark of 35 single-season assists established by Karen Geromini in 1986 at 4:34 of the first half. McHoul became the record holder with the last of her three assists at 25:05 of the second half.

Laura Puccia recorded a career high near the end of the first half with 39 goals for the season. Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) had a strong performance in net with a total of 12 saves, six in each half, by the end of the game.

Albany was carried by Ariana Parker (three goals, four assists), Katherine Sweeney (5g), Maureen Keggins (4g), Rachel Bowles (3g), Allie Phelan (2g, 1a) and Sarah Martin (2g, 1a). Anna Berman was credited with four saves. As a team, the Great Danes tallied 40 shots and 17 draw controls.

The Great Danes began with an early 2-0 lead within the first two minutes of the first, as Sweeney took advantage of a free-position shot, firing the first goal of the game past Hurwitz, followed by an unassisted goal from Martin.

UNH made a transition, as passes were crisp and on point to result in a goal on the scoreboard for the Wildcats. Molly Gaffey (North Hampton, N.H.) earned credit for the goal as Marissa Gurello (Manorville, N.Y.) contributed with the assist at 26:33 in the first to move the score to 2-1.

Phelan then added another goal on a free position shortly after at 25:57.

Rachel Nock (Severna Park, Md.) cleared the ball for the 'Cats, found an opening to advance further across the field and fired the ball past the Danes' goalkeeper at 24:13 for a 3-2 score.

Albany subsequently had three consecutive goals spanned across six minutes, the first of which was by Sweeney, assisted by Phelan, at 22:56. The Great Danes had to work for the following two goals as Hurwitz displayed quick movements and clean blocks for the Wildcats. Parker found a gap in goal to increase the score 5-2 at 19:13. Keggins scored at 16:12 when she launched a shot to bounce between the goalie's legs. Meghan Haney caused a turnover, corralled the ground ball and executed pass to assist Keggins.

The Wildcats were able to find control as Nicole Grote (Ellicott City, Md.), off a pass from McHoul, powered a one-timer past Berman to put up a 6-3 score.

Yet again, Albany was able to maintain control of the ball and score three goals in a row. Keggins registered her second goal of the game with assistance from Parker to gain the 7-3 lead with 11:16 left in the first. Although UNH was down, Hurwitz put on a solid performance and quick blocks for the Wildcats. Sweeney marked her second goal on a free position with 6:14 remaining for a rise of 8-3. The goal was followed by an unassisted goal from Parker at 5:52, which was her second of the game.

About a minute later at 4:34, Puccia marked her 39th goal of the season off McHoul's pass from the left wing.

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