McKee Nets Five, Leads No. 15 Chargers to 13-5 Victory Over Merrimack

Charger Athletics

WEST HAVEN, Conn. – University of New Haven junior attacker Nicole McKee (Wantagh, N.Y./MacArthur) scored a game-high five goals and led the nationally ranked No. 15 women’s lacrosse team to a 13-5 victory over visiting Merrimack College Saturday afternoon at Kayo Field. The Wantagh, N.Y. native was one goal shy of her season best mark and improved her total this year to 35.

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The Chargers improved to 6-6 overall and 4-3 in the Northeast-10 Conference with the victory. The Warriors dropped to 3-9 overall and 2-4 in conference action with the loss.

Over the first two minutes, UNH and Merrimack exchanged one goal each with McKee getting the Chargers on the board first. Natalie Lieberman (Manorville, N.Y./Eastport South Manor) then put New Haven ahead with two unanswered goals during a five minute stretch. Just 40-seconds later, Jenn Pino brought Merrimack back within one with an eight-meter goal, 3-2. New Haven then took control of possession and went on a 5-0 run to close out the first half. Lieberman scored a pair during the span, while McKee, Kathryn Campbell (Mansfield, Mass./Mansfield) and Courtney Ackland (Perth, Western Australia/Churchlands) also contributed to the scoring effort. UNH led 8-2 at halftime.

After leading by six at the break, the Chargers surrendered three of the first four goals of the second half and Merrimack narrowed the UNH advantage to 9-5 at the 20:17 mark. Ackland then sparked a 4-0 run for New Haven to close out the game and seal its sixth win of the season. McKee scored two during the stretch and Kristina Curry (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) netted her 15th goal of the season. Nine second-half saves by Marissa McDermott (Longmeadow, Mass./Wilbraham & Monson Academy) kept the Chargers ahead by eight in the closing minutes of her fourth win this season.

New Haven held the advantage in nearly every statistical category Saturday. UNH led 29-22 in shots, 13-6 in saves and 23-20 in ground balls. It was an even lock with draw controls (10-10) and turnovers (14-14).

McKee added a team-best five draw controls and one ground ball to her stat line. Lieberman finished with four goals, one assist, one ground ball and a caused turnover. Ackland scored two, while Campbell scored one and dished out two assists. Brittany Ast (Glenwood, N.J./Vernon Township) led the defensive effort with three caused turnovers and team-best five ground balls. In goal, McDermott stopped 13 total shots on the afternoon, while facing 22 total shots.