Women's Lacrosse Surges in Second Half; Defeats VCU, 21-9

Photo by Jack Miller
Photo by Jack Miller

BALTIMORE, Md. – The UMBC women's lacrosse team exploded on both sides of the ball in the second half on Saturday as the team defeated the VCU Rams, 21-9. The defense held strong to limit the Rams to just two goals in the second period and held their third opponent to under 10 goals this season. Prior to this game, the Retrievers ranked fourth in the country in scoring defense, allowing only 5.50 goals per game, and fifth in caused turnovers with 14.50 per contest.

The Retrievers move to 3-0 for the first time since the 1995 season, while the Rams fall to 0-2. 

With the score close at 10-7 early in the second half, freshman Lily Kennedy (Marriotsville, Md./Marriots Ridge) sent a free position shot into the net for to extend the Retriever lead. VCU's Clare Murphy added another goal for the Rams to cut the lead to 11-8 before the Retriever offense began to make a run, rattling off five-straight. 

Junior Sara Moeller (Phoenix, Md./St. Paul's School for Girls) started the spurt and added an assist as she fed the ball to classmate Lauren McDonald (Catonsville, Md./Catonsville) to give UMBC a 13-8 lead.

Senior Taylor Oliver (Annapolis, Md./St. Mary's) scored twice around another Moeller tally to help strength UMBC's lead to 16-8. VCU would score their final goal of the game at the 19:33 mark off a free position goal from Sky Hyatt, before UMBC ended the game on another five-goal run, including two from McDonald. Four of the five goals in the spurt were assisted by Moeller, who set the school mark in last year's meeting against the Rams for most assists in a game with nine. 

UMBC's offense got off a hot start as senior Caitlin Miller (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) scored just ten seconds after the opening draw off a feed from junior Payton Van Kirk (Ocean City, Md./Stephan Decatur). Miller scored just 12 later off a pass from Kennedy to put the Retrievers up, 2-0. 

Van Kirk and Moeller would each their own goals to give UMBC a 4-0 lead before the Rams took over and tallied four straight to tie the game up.

The game became a back-and-forth scoring match as Miller and Oliver scored to put the Retrievers up 6-4 before VCU's Hyatt and Jessica Del Rossi answered back. UMBC's Brittany Levine (Middletown, Md./Middletown) answered with a free position goal, only the be counteracted with a goal by Hyatt and a 7-7 tie.

However, the Retrievers would score three straight, with two from Moeller and a score from sophomore Zoë Pekins (Columbia, Md./Hammond) to take a 10-7 lead into the half.

On the day, Moeller led the team with 12 points off six goals and six assists. Three was the magic number for Miller as she had three goals, three ground balls, and three caused turnovers; she and classmate Carolyn Jamison (Westminster, Md./Westminster) controlled a team-high seven draws.

In goal, senior Kelsey Major (Eldersburg, Md./Liberty) picked up the victory after making three saves in 44:30 minutes of play. Junior Carly Tolino (Middletown, Md./Middletown) made two saves in 15:30. For VCU, Ria Peralta made seven saves, while Gillian Belfiore made six.

The Retrievers will next travel to College Park for a midweek matchup against #1 Maryland on Wednesday, Feb. 28. The opening draw is set for 7 p.m.