BALTIMORE – UMBC women's lacrosse returns to UMBC Stadium for its America East home opener on Saturday, April 5 when it hosts New Hampshire. First draw is set for noon, with all the live action available on UMBCRetrievers.tv, courtesy of the America East digital network.
UMBC snapped a three-game win streak last Saturday and moved to an even 5-5 on the season after falling to No. 17/16 Stony Brook, 12-1, in its league opener. Freshman Amber Kovalick (Davidsonville, Md./South River) scored the Retrievers' lone goal, her fifth in the last six games, on a pass from sophomore Rachel Benzing (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial).
The Retrievers have had 11 different players register a goal on the season, led by a trio of double-digit scorers in senior Kristen Bilney (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron) (15) and juniors Alyssa Semones (Westminster, Md./Westminster/Penn State) (14) and Abby Wilson (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) (12). Kovalick and classmate Caroline Haggerty (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll School) have stepped in during their rookies seasons to add five goals apiece. Wilson leads the team with 10 helpers on the season, eighth in the conference, for a squad-best 22 points. Semones sits atop of the team in ground balls (18) and draw controls (18), while also causing seven turnovers.
UMBC's defense has limited opponents to 7.4 goals per game over the last five games. Junior defender Lexi Bristow (Annapolis, Md./Broadneck) has forced a team-best nine turnovers on the season and has added 11 ground balls. Freshman goalkeeper Kelly Gielner (Pasadena, Md./St. Mary's) has started the last two contests in net for the Retrievers and has made 22 stops on the year.
New Hampshire (5-7, 0-1 AEC) has dropped two in a row coming into Saturday's contest. The Wildcats fell in their America East opener last Saturday, 15-12, to Vermont and followed with Wednesday's 19-9 loss to former league foe Boston University. Sophomore Laura McHoul and junior Laura Puccia combined for 11 points in the loss to the Terriers. Four of Puccia's five points came off of goals, while McHoul totaled three goals and three assists.
McHoul leads the squad with 46 points on 19 goals and a conference-best 27 assists. Puccia ranks fifth in the league with a team-best 31 scores and ranks second on the squad in draw controls (38). Junior Kayleigh Hinkle is the second Wildcat of the season to post double-digit goals and assists for the 2014 campaign. She has 19 scores and 10 assists, while also adding a team-best 40 draw controls. Goalkeeper Taylor Hurwitz has seen all the action in net for UNH, posting 106 saves and allowing 10.92 goals per game.
UNH hold an 11-1 advantage in the all-time series. The Retriever posted a 10-8 victory on March 26, 2011 and has dropped back-to-back one-goal contests to the Wildcats.