March 18, 2012

Keenan Backstops Fairfield Victory over UNH

from press release

DURHAM, N.H. – Katie Keenan made 12 saves to backstop the Fairfield University women's lacrosse team to Sunday afternoon's 8-3 non-conference victory against the University of New Hampshire at Memorial Field.

UNH, which recorded a 19-8 victory in its most recent game at Fresno State University (March 14), fell to 0-3 at home and 1-5 overall despite tallying a 24-14 shot advantage. Fairfield improved to 4-2. 

Amber Casiano (South Windsor, Conn.), Kate Keagins (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Jenny Simpson (New Canaan, Conn.) scored the Wildcats' goals. Keagins, who has scored a goal every game this season, also finished with two draw controls, two caused turnovers and one ground ball while Casiano tallied two GB, one DC and one CTO.

Starting goalkeeper Taylor Hurwitz (Holland, Pa.) exited the game at 5:48 of the first half with New Hampshire trailing 4-0; she was credited with one save and charged with the loss. Kathleen O'Keefe (Chatham, N.J.) played the final 35:48 and stopped three shots. 

Fairfield was led offensively by Courtney Chmil, Chloe Mangan and Melanie Raso, all of whom scored two goals. Jamie Leone had a goal and an assist. Jenna Slowey accounted for the Stags' other goal.

The visitors took a 1-0 lead at 23:32 of the first half when Chmil cut down the middle of the fan and fired a shot inside the right post. 

The teams exchanged a total of 15 possessions spanning more than 15 minutes before the game's second goal. During that extended goalless stretch, UNH had an extended possession spanning two minutes in which Keenan turned aside consecutive shots by Ilana Cohen (Andover, Mass.), Chelsea Cyester (Parker, Colo.), Simpson and Laura Puccia (Fairport, N.Y.). The 'Cats did not record a shot on their other seven possessions in that time frame.

Fairfield, which generated three shots – one on goal – on seven possessions during that 15-minute scoreless stretch, extended the advantage to 2-0 on Leone's unassisted goal at 7:52. 

Mangan scored a free-position goal on a low shot from the top of the fan at 6:24 and Raso raced through the right side of the fan and shot the ball under the crossbar at 5:48 to quickly build a 4-0 lead.

UNH scored with 52 seconds remaining in the first half to trim the deficit to 4-1. Simpson, with the ball behind the net, curled around the left post to the top of the crease, where she pump-faked and then deposited a shot into the upper-right corner. 

The Stags carried that three-goal advantage, as well as the edge in ground balls (9-5) and draw controls (4-2), into halftime. The 'Cats had the 11-8 shot advantage but were kept at bay by Keenan, who tallied seven first-half saves.

Fairfield extended the lead to 5-1 when Raso's high shot on a free position from the top-left side sailed into the cage at 21:11. The lead grew to 6-1 at 18:56 as Leone, deep on the right side, found Chmil slicing through the right side of the fan. 

New Hampshire scored a man-up goal at 18:09 when Keagins split a pair of defenders at the top of the fan, charged towards the left post, deked and then fired a high shot into the netting.

Cohen's free-position shot at 14:42 sailed high, but UNH maintained possession and moments later Keenan stoned Casiano on a catch-and-shoot from point-blank range in front of the cage. 

The Stags netted a man-up tally at 9:55 to reestablish a five-goal lead, 7-2. From the right wing, Amanda Best centered the ball to a cutting Slowey for the strike.

Fairfield went into a patient, perimeter attack with 7:30 remaining and Mangan scored at 6:05 when she cut down the middle of the fan and placed a shot under the crossbar. 

Keagins rolled around the right post and was denied by Keenan, but the rebound popped high in the air across the crease, where Casiano was in position to sweep a shot into the open net at 3:21 to trim the deficit to 8-3.

Raso controlled the ensuing draw control for Fairfield, which held the ball until Casiano forced a turnover at 1:58. The Wildcats slowly advanced the ball downfield and Simpson's shot with 57 seconds to play sailed wide. The Stags were awarded possession and held the ball the rest of the way to secure the victory. 

UNH had a 13-6 second-half shot advantage to finish with a 24-14 edge in that statistic. Fairfield recorded the overall advantage in both ground balls (16-13) and draw controls (8-5), but also committed more turnovers (19-17).

New Hampshire's three-game homestand continues March 24 (1 p.m.) against Binghamton University in the America East conference opener for both teams.


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