UMBC's 1st NEC game is morale boost, 16-7

Women roll past Mount for season's first victory

College Lacrosse

March 16, 2003|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

UMBC women's lacrosse coach Monica Yeakel found the perfect antidote for her team's winless start last night.

The Northeast Conference opener.

Facing outclassed Mount St. Mary's, the host Retrievers scored the game's first four goals and went on to rout the Mountaineers, 16-7, raising Yeakel's career record in NEC play to 28-1.

Midfielders Stephanie Allen and Lauren Hess each had four goals and an assist for the Retrievers, who opened the season with road losses to then-No. 2 Duke and then-No. 4 Loyola, and were coming off a double-overtime loss to American.

"We've had some really tough competition, and I think we've actually played very well, despite our record," said Yeakel, an All-American at Loyola in 1994. "Still, it's always nice to begin conference play and get a conference win."

Said Allen: "It's a morale boost."

The Retrievers (1-4) took advantage of 11 free-position shots to the Mountaineers' one in scoring four of their first 12 goals. Buoyed by a 25-10 advantage in fouls, they outshot Mount St. Mary's, 44-23.

"I think it was just that UMBC had more opportunities, and they took advantage," said Mount St. Mary's coach Courtney Martinez-Conner, who discussed her concern about the disparity of free positions with the referees at halftime. "It wasn't that we didn't have a good effort."

Facing a team starting three freshmen, with three others seeing significant playing time, UMBC began quickly in this one, scoring on four of its first five shots, including free positions by Hess and Allen, in the first 4:27.

After Mount St. Mary's (0-5, 0-1) cut the lead to 5-2, the Retrievers once again took control when Jen Dragoni and Kelly Fiorani scored consecutive goals in a span of 57 seconds to build the lead to five.

That advantage would swell to eight by midway through the second half, following Allen's free position with 16:17 left, before the Mountaineers made a game of it, closing to 12-7 on consecutive goals by Leshia Jones, Kim Keene and Addie Lewis.

During the final 11:30, however, the Retrievers came back to life, sealing the win with consecutive goals by Fiorani, Jen Kasper, Hess and Allen for the final margin.

The Retrievers have a chance to pick up another win on Friday against upstart conference foe St. Francis, Pa., a team they dominated a year ago.

UMBC is shooting for a fifth unbeaten conference season in six years, though players said the task is becoming tougher each season as opponents gain experience.

"The rest of the league is definitely catching up," sad Allen, a senior. "When I first got here as a freshman, we'd just roll through our conference games. Now, it's getting tougher."

Said Yeakel: "Everybody's trying to knock us off. We're the ones they're shooting for."

Mount St. Mary's 4 3 - 7

UMBC 9 7 - 16

Goals: MSM-Keene 2, Lewis 2, DiAngelo, Jones, Reymann; UMBC-Allen 4, Hess 4, Fiorani 3, Dragoni 2, Traber 2, Kasper. Assists: MSM-Keene, DiAngelo; UMBC-Dragoni 2, Hess, Allen, Lynn. Saves: MSM-n/a 13; UMBC-n/a 11.

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