BURLINGTON, Vt. – UMBC women's lacrosse junior midfielder Kristen Bilney (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron) ignited a second-half charge for the Retrievers, tallying points on three of UMBC's four-straight goals, but the go-ahead goal with 2:22 to go from Vermont's junior attacker Sydney Mas gave the Catamounts an 8-7 victory against the black and gold in Saturday afternoon's America East matchup at Virtue Field.
UMBC goalkeeper Kendall Mason (Lloyd Harbor, N.Y./Cold Spring Harbor) matched a career-high with 11 stops in the contest, including seven saves in the second half. The senior eclipsed the 100-save mark for the first time in her career, with 104 stops on the year.
Bilney added four draw controls, two caused turnovers and one ground ball in the contest, while sophomore attacker Abby Wilson (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) finished with a team-high four points on two goals and two assists. With one game to go in the regular season, Wilson remains one assist shy of entering into the Retrievers' top-10 single-season assists list.
A score from Mas put the black and gold down 6-3 with 25:15 to go in the second half, but UMBC scored four-straight goals to eliminate its deficit and take its first lead since the 21:17 mark of the first half. Wilson started the comeback with her second goal of the day, this one coming on a pass from Bilney with just over 19:00 to go in the contest. Less than a minute later, Bilney found the back of the net on an unassisted score, to bring UMBC back within one, 6-5. The junior midfielder struck again, knotting the score at six apiece, with 14:35 on the clock.
Freshman attacker Sam Nolan (Fallston, Md./Fallston) put the Retrievers back out in front, with her eighth goal of the season, giving UMBC the 7-6 advantage, however, Vermont responded as freshman attacker Vanessa VanderZalm pulled in the draw control and 21 seconds later connected on the equalizer.
After a shot from Bilney and save from netminder Meg Hopkins, the Catamounts offense put pressure on the Retrievers. A free position shot that went wide from Emma Kelly was picked up by Justine Allen and moments later, sophomore attacker Jessica Roach looked to put home the game-winner, but nailed the post, however, VanderZalm was able to continue the Catamounts possession, picking up the ground ball and with 2:22 remaining, Mas put away the game-winner for a hat trick on the day.
Vermont (7-9, 2-3 AEC) snapped a two-game skid and remains in the playoff hunt with one week to go in the regular season, while UMBC (8-7, 2-3 AEC) drops its fourth-straight and needs a victory in its final game of the regular season in order to clinch a spot in its fourth consecutive America East Championships. The black and gold take on New Hampshire on Senior Day at the UMBC Stadium on Saturday, April 17. Game time is set for noon.
The Retrievers opened up the contest with back-to-back scores within the first three minutes of action. Despite missing action in Wednesday's contest against No. 19 Johns Hopkins, Wilson did not miss a beat, notching her 21st goal of the year 55 seconds into the matchup. The sophomore followed by assisting a score from classmate Alyssa Semones (Westminster, Md./Westminster/Penn State) to give UMBC a 2-0 lead.
The Catamounts responded with five consecutive goals and six of the next seven. Roach opened up the scoring, netting her first of three in the contest with UVM down a man, while Mas picked up her first of the day with 21:17 left in the first. Roach scored the next two, while junior attacker Ariel Nicholas followed by getting into the action with her ninth of the season, giving Vermont a 5-2 advantage.
Semones stopped the run with her second goal of the half on a pass from Wilson, making the Retrievers deficit 5-3 at the break.