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WOMEN'S LACROSSE REPEATS AS NORTHEAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS; WILL TRAVEL TO #1 LOYOLA (MD) ON THURSDAY FOR NCAA TOURNEY
Fairfield, CT -- Freshmen Jenny Kasper and Kelly Fiorani scored three goals apiece as the University of Maryland-Baltimore County erased a 7-6 halftime deficit to come away with an 11-9 victory over Mount St. Mary's to claim their second-straight Northeast Conference championship. The Retrievers have played in every NEC final since the 1998 season, walking away with the title in five of the six years.
UMBC will now face the #1 ranked Loyola Greyhounds in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at Loyola (4pm).
The Mount took command early, controlling play over the first 10 minutes of the game. Sophomore Nicole DiAngelo put two in the back of the net at 27:25 and 26:19 to open an early 2-0 advantage. UMBC senior Lauren Traber got the Retrievers on the board just 13 seconds later, scoring her only goal of the game from Stephanie Allen. The Mount made it 3-1 on junior Kim Keene's free-position goal with just over 20 minutes to play in the half. Kasper would score two of her three goals over the next three minutes. The Mount had an answer building a 6-3 lead, their largest of the day, behind freshmen Kirby Day and Jen Davison's back-to-back goals.
The Retriever offense took control with just over six minutes to go in the first half, scoring three straight to tie the game at 6-6. Junior Lauren Hess got the string started on a feed from NEC Player-of-the-Year, junior Jen Dragoni. Dragoni came back to tally her first of the day minutes later, and Fiorani picked-up her first of the day on a free-position shot with 1:28 to go in the half. The Mount regained the momentum heading into halftime on freshman Leshia Jones's lone goal on a feed from DiAngelo giving the Mountaineers a one-goal advantage.
The second half was all UMBC, as the Retrievers outscored Mount St. Mary's, 5-2, and forced nine turnovers and four bad clears. Kasper wasted little time in tying the score, scoring just 33 seconds into play. Fiorani gave UMBC its first lead of the day at 21:50, converting her second free-position shot of the day. The Mount would tie the game again 48 seconds later on DiAngelo's fourth of the day.
Fiorani gave the Retrievers the lead for good in the 18th minute on her third tally of the day and senior Stephanie Allen pushed the lead to 10-8 with 10 minutes to play. The Mount would make one last push, cutting the lead to 10-9 on Keene's second goal of the day but could convert two point blank opportunities down the stretch. UMBC senior goalkeeper Courtney Stringer made turned away point blank shots from senior Kelly Moran and DiAngelo to preserve the lead and the win.
Stinger finished with 11 saves on the day, including seven in the second half, on 24 shots. She turned in 11 saves in Thursday's semi-final win over Wagner while allowing just five goals. For her efforts, the senior was named NEC Tournament MVP.
For UMBC, now 10-8 overall, Kasper finished with three goals and an assist. Fiorani had three of her own with Hess contributing two goals and Allen and Dragoni notching a goal and an assist apiece. For the Mount, now 9-10 overall, DiAngelo led all scorers with four goals and an assist. Junior Naomi Campano recorded 15 saves on 37 shots in the loss.