Women’s Lacrosse Heads to the Sunshine State Wednesday for a Matchup with No. 17 Florida

Emily Coady scored four goals against Albany in the 2011 America East semifinals
Emily Coady scored four goals against Albany in the 2011 America East semifinals

BALTIMOREAfter nearly two weeks off, the UMBC women's lacrosse team (1-0) visits 17th-ranked Florida (2-1) Wednesday. Game time at Donald R. Dizney Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.

Last Time Out: The Retrievers defeated George Mason, 19-7, in their season opener Feb. 11 at UMBC Stadium. Senior attack Erika Braerman (Fallston, Md./Fallston) scored a career-high eight points on five goals and three assists, while junior midfielder Alicia Krause (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron/Duquesne) tallied a career-best four goals and five points. Junior attack Emily Coady (Westminster, Md./Westminster) and senior midfielder Amanda Pappas (Pasadena, Md./Chesapeake) also notched hat tricks for the Retrievers, who scored 11 straight goals in the first half and led, 12-3, at halftime.

On the Gators: In just its second season of varsity status, Florida is 2-1 on the season and ranked 17th in the most recent IWLCA poll. After a season-opening overtime loss to No. 3 North Carolina, the Gators have won two straight, including a 15-7 victory over No. 20 Denver on Sunday. Midfielder Kitty Cullen scored eight points on six goals and two assists, while attack Ashley Bruns, the reigning national Rookie of the Year, scored seven points on three goals and four helpers. Cullen, who has scored a team-best 14 goals this season, was tabbed the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Week for her effort against the Pioneers. Goalie Mikey Meagher boasts a 7.69 goals-against average, but she has stopped just 37.5 percent of the shots she has faced in 156 minutes between the pipes.

Inside the Series: Wednesday evening marks the first-ever meeting between UMBC and Florida.

Honor Roll: Braerman earned the first America East Player of the Week award of the 2011 season on Monday, while sophomore defender Jamie Fahey (Baldwin, Md./Loch Raven) was named Defensive Player of the Week for their efforts against George Mason. The awards cover all games through Feb. 20. Braerman scored a career-high eight points on five goals and three assists. The five goals, which also matched her career best, came on just five shots. The reigning America East Rookie of the Year, Fahey led the Retrievers defensively with four ground balls, a career-high four caused turnovers and two draw controls.

Streaking: Pappas has scored a point in 12 straight games dating to Feb. 27, 2010, with a goal in the last six (April 10), while Coady has scored a goal in seven in a row since April 7 and senior midfielder Ashley Stodter (Silver Spring, Md./Good Counsel) has scored in six straight (April 10).

Back in the Mix: UMBC scored 223 goals in 2010 and returns 80 percent of its offense, including all four 30-goal scorers – Coady (35), Pappas (34), Stodter (33) and Braerman (32). Braerman, Fahey and Pappas were all named to the America East all-conference second team last season.

Retrievers Picked Third: UMBC was predicted to finish third in the America East preseason poll. The Retrievers garnered 27 points, including one first-place vote, and finished just two points behind second-place Albany, the 2010 regular-season champion. Six-time defending champion Boston University was the preseason favorite. The top four teams in the conference will advance to the America East Championship May 5-7. Under first-year head coach Kelly Berger, the Retrievers had a breakout season in 2010, posting an 11-7 record and reaching the America East title game for the first time ever, despite missing the tournament in each of the previous three seasons.

Taking on the Best: UMBC will face four teams that were ranked in the top 20 in the IWLCA preseason poll, including No. 12 Loyola (March 23), No. 15 Towson (March 2), No. 17 Florida (Feb. 23) and No. 18 Boston University (April 2). In addition, Albany (April 30) and Johns Hopkins (April 13) were also receiving votes in the poll. UMBC's 2010 America East semifinal win over the Great Danes, who were ranked 19th at the time, was its first over a ranked team since knocking off the No. 11 Terriers on April 1, 2006, snapping a skid of 16 straight losses. The Retrievers faced five ranked opponents last season.