TOWSON, Md. – UMBC women's lacrosse's senior midfielder Kristen Bilney (Ellicott City, Md./Mt. Hebron) registered a first-half hat trick and finished with four goals versus local rival No. 20 Towson, but the Tigers outscored the Retrievers 6-3 in second half en route to an 11-6 victory in Wednesday evening's matchup at Johnny Unitas Stadium.
The Retrievers (0-2) stayed tough throughout the contest, holding a 10-9 advantage in the draw circle and tallying 16 of its 20 shots in the second half, but UMBC was unable to take advantage of its free position shots, connecting on two of eight attempts.
UMBC received a stellar effort in the opening half from red-shirt sophomore goalkeeper Anna Barnett (Midland, Texas/Midland), who registered eight of her career-high nine saves in the period. Despite having 12 turnovers, the Retrievers were able to make the most of their opportunities, with Bilney scoring on three of UMBC's four shots.
Towson (1-0) opened up a two-goal advantage 5:01 into the contest, with Ashleigh Rohrback assisting goals from both Andi Raymond and Taylor Moore.
UMBC sophomore Rachel Benzing (Ellicott City, Md./Centennial) gave the Retrievers a chance to cut the deficit in half, pulling in her first of two draw controls in the game. Red-shirt junior Ali Carpenter (Baltimore, Md./McDonogh/Loyola) found an open Bilney in front of the net, who was able to convert for her first score of the season. Bilney tied the contest at two apiece 1:48 later, taking advantage of UMBC's first free position attempt of the game.
Raymond came around the back of the net and bounced in her second of four goals in the contest to regain the lead for the Tigers, 3-2, with 11:31 to go before the break, but a determined Bilney wasted little time in completing the hat trick, receiving a pass from senior Shannon Harkey (Purcellville, Va./Loudon Valley/Florida), escaping her defender and blasting a shot past goalkeeper Kelsea Donnelly.
Towson added a pair of goals within a one minute span, starting with Rohrback's shot over the top of Barnett and following with a goal from Gabby Cha to give the Tigers a 5-3 lead heading into the break.
The Retrievers were more aggressive on the offensive end in the second half, placing 11 of its 16 shots on net, grabbing six draws and turning the ball over just three times.
The Tigers chipped in two more goals to start the half, before Bilney bounced her fourth score of the game past Donnelly and her seventh goal in the last two seasons versus Towson to bring UMBC back within three, 7-4.
While the Retrievers were able to generate scoring opportunities throughout the second half, UMBC had trouble finding the back of the net, allowing Towson's offense to score the next four goals to take a 10-4 lead with 8:10 to go.
Harkey tallied her second point of the game, bouncing in a free position shot with 4:46 to go and junior Abby Wilson (Bel Air, Md./Fallston) followed by chipping in her second goal of the year to bring UMBC within five at 11-6, but the Retrievers ran out of time to complete the comeback.
Bilney added three draw controls and one caused turnovers, while junior Alyssa Semones (Westminster, Md./Westminster/Penn State) finished with a team-best four draws.
UMBC returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 22 when it hosts American at 4 p.m. at the UMBC Stadium.