BALTIMORE – The UMBC women's lacrosse team hits the road to do battle with another tough local rival on Wednesday, Feb. 19 when it travels to Johnny Unitas Stadium for a 4 p.m. matchup against Towson.
The Retrievers dropped their season-opener to perennial powerhouse Maryland after weather delays postponed the game until Friday. UMBC opened up a two goal lead in the opening half versus the Terps, but UMD exploded for 10 goals in the second half to down the Retrievers, 14-3.
A pair of UMBC's captains, junior Abby Wilson (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) and red-shirt junior Ali Carpenter (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh) helped put the Retrievers out in front early, each tallying a goal in the opening 5:45 of the contest. Wilson finished the contest with a goal and an assist, dishing out a helper on freshman Mackenzie Reese's (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll School) first collegiate goal.
Red-shirt sophomore Anna Barnett (Midland, Texas/Midland) and freshman Kelly Gielner (Pasadena, Md./St. Mary's) split time between the pipes in the opener. Barnett earned the start, while Gielner finished the afternoon with eight saves.
Despite scoring three goals in its opener, the Retrievers pose a dangerous attack, with Wilson registering back-to-back 20-goal seasons to open her career and senior Shannon Harkey (Purcellville, Va./Loudoun Valley) breaking out with 28 goals a season ago. The Retrievers also return a pair of America East All-Conference midfielders in Kristen Bilney (Ellicott City, Md./Mount Hebron) and Alyssa Semones (Westminster, Md./Westminster/Penn State), who will look to jump start UMBC's offense that averaged 10.25 goals per game in 2013.
Towson opens its 2014 season versus the Retrievers. The Tigers are coming off back-to-back Colonial Athletic Association titles and NCAA Tournament appearances. Towson welcomes back 23 letterwinners and seven starters from last season's squad that posted a 10-9 overall record and 6-1 mark in CAA play.
Among those returning to the Tiger lineup are CAA Co-Player of the Year Ashleigh Rohrback and All-Conference goalkeeper Kelsea Donnelly. Rohrback tallied 19 goals on the year and led the league in assists per game (2.46) and points per game (3.92), while Donnelly ranked in the top-15 in the nation in goals against average and save percentage.
UMBC battled No. 16 Towson evenly through 43 minutes in last season's matchup at UMBC Stadium, before a late run from the Tigers decided the game, 11-8. Bilney piloted the Retrievers' offense, scoring three goals and placing five of her seven shots on net, while Harkey and attack Sam Nolan (Fallston, Md./Fallston) each chipped in two goals. Towson leads the all-time series, 32-7, but seven of the last 14 matchups have been decided by two goals or less.