Women's Lacrosse

Four Goal Run Difference Maker As Northwestern Downs Women's Lax 10-6

March 25, 2014

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AMHERST, Mass. - A four-goal run bridging halftime was the deciding factor as No. 7 Northwestern handed the No. 10 UMass women's lacrosse team its first loss of the year, 10-6, at McGuirk Stadium. The loss snapped a 31-game home win streak for the Minutewomen which was the third longest home win streak in NCAA history.

The last time UMass lost a game at McGuirk Stadium, it was also at the hands of Northwestern on March 26, 2011 (17-7).

UMass (9-1) trailed by just two at the 5:51 mark of the first half, but a Northwestern (5-3) goal with just over three to go before halftime followed by a three-goal burst in the first six minutes of the second half proved the difference maker.

The Minutewomen managed to cut the six-goal deficit down to four with 8:01 remaining in the game, but the Wildcats prevented any chances at the comeback down the stretch.

Northwestern was led by Kaleigh Craig who had three goals along with Kat DeRonda, Kara Mupo and Alyssa Leonard who each had two. Kelly Rich led all players with four points coming from four assists. Goalie Bridget Bianco earned the win in cage making five saves including four in the second half.

UMass was led by Sam Rush who had three goals, while Melissa Carelli and Tanner Guarino each notched one. UMass' leading scorer Katie Ferris was held to a limited role on the offensive side with just one assist after being face guarded the entire game. Rachel Vallarelli took the loss in goal, but tied her season high for the second straight game with eight saves.

The Wildcats held a 20-to-16 edge in shots and an 18-to-9 advantage in groundballs. Northwestern also controlled 10 draws, while UMass had eight.

UMass won the opening draw control and looked as if it had taken an early one goal lead on an apparent Rush goal, but it was waived off due to a crease violation just 56 seconds into play.

Northwestern hurried down the field on the clear and took a 1-0 lead on a Christy Turner goal at the 28:20 mark.

The Wildcats added two more goals to take a 3-0 lead midway through the first half forcing a UMass timeout.

Rush netted her first goal of the game in transition off a beautiful feed from Erika Eipp (two assists) to get the Minutewomen on the board with 13:45 to go in the first half.

The teams traded goals before DeRonda scored her first of the day with 3:02 remaining in the half putting Northwestern up 5-2 at the intermission.

Northwestern scored three times in the first six minutes of the second half to take an 8-2 lead at the 24:39 mark.

Guarino cut it to a five-goal deficit four minutes later, but Kara Mupo scored her 15th goal of the season off a laser pass from Rich to extend the lead back to six, 9-3, with 13:22 remaining.

On the next possession, Courtney McGrath scored while five minutes later Rush added her third to pull the Minutewomen back within four, 9-5, with 8:01 to go.

UMass won the next draw control, but Bianco made back-to-back saves and Haydyn Anigian came up with the ground ball on the second shot which led to a Leonard goal in transition.

With the lead back to five, 10-5, the Wildcats won the ensuing draw control and were able to run over two minutes off the clock. A turnover with 2:10 remaining led to Carelli's goal making the score 10-6, however, Northwestern again won the draw control allowing them to run out the balance of the clock for the win.

The four-goal loss marked the closest game in the series since 1989 when Northwestern defeated UMass 9-5 in Amherst (prior to both teams suspending the programs before re-instating them later). The two programs have met nine times since 2007 with the Wildcats winning each game, however, this was the first time UMass had held Northwestern to just 10 goals.

UMass will have a week off before resuming play on Friday, April 4 when the Minutewomen open Atlantic 10 action against La Salle at McGuirk Stadium (4:00 PM). UMass has won five consecutive A-10 Championship titles and enters league play with 29 consecutive wins against conference foes. The 21 straight regular-season conference wins is the sixth longest streak in NCAA history.



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