AMHERST, Mass. -- No. 7 Northwestern and No. 10 Massachusetts are set to meet under the lights at McGuirk Stadium in Amherst Tuesday night, each looking to extend a few impressive winning streaks.
Northwestern at UMass: Game Notes
As has been the case in recent seasons, Massachusetts is off to another strong start with an 9-0 record coming off Saturday's win over Southern California. UMass is one of six undefeated squads remaining in Division I women's lacrosse this season -- with Northwestern's next opponent, No. 1 North Carolina, also counted in that group -- and on Tuesday will be trying to win its 32nd consecutive game at McGuirk Stadium.
A glance at the all-time Northwestern-UMass series shows a history of Wildcats dominance. NU has won 12 of 13 meetings and 12 in a row entering Tuesday, most recently a 16-4 outcome in the 2013 season-opener. Each of the last nine meetings has been decided by at least 10 goals.
The UMass coaching staff features a distinctive Northwestern flair, with former Wildcats standouts Angela McMahon ('04) and Brianne LoManto ('12) serving as head coach and assistant coach of the Minutewomen, respectively. But, ironically, Northwestern has an equally strong UMass flair to it, with assistant coaches Tim McCormack ('12) and Scott Hiller ('90) able to call Massachusetts their alma mater. Hiller, the husband of head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller, is a recent UMass Athletics Hall of Fame inductee after starring for the Minutemen as a four-time All-American, while McCormack anchored UMass in the cage during one of that program's most successful seasons in school history (2012).
UMass has limited its first nine opponents to a mere 5.89 goals per game, thanks in part to a strong .473 save percentage by junior goalkeeper Rachel Vallarelli. On attack, the Minutewomen are led by the prolific senior Katie Ferris (20 goals, 24 assists), a high school teammate of NU's Kat DeRonda at Carthage Central H.S. in New York.
One other notable tie that binds the Northwestern and UMass programs: Meaghan Bowen, the younger sister of former three-time All-American and two-time NCAA Championship MVP of the Wildcats Hilary Bowen, is a freshman who has played in three games for UMass this season. The Bowens had a chance to reconvene just this past Saturday, with Hilary in town as an assistant coach for Southern Cal.
After facing the Minutewomen on Tuesday, the Wildcats will travel back to Evanston on Wednesday and spend the remainder of the spring break week preparing to face defending NCAA champion and top-ranked North Carolina. The Tar Heels will be in town Sunday as the Wildcats make their long-awaited debut at Lakeside Field this season after being forced to move their first two home games to an indoor location due to wintry weather. NU and UNC, who clashed last season in the NCAA semifinals, last squared off at Lakeside Field in 2012 when the Wildcats notched a one-goal regular-season victory in NU's most recent championship season. Be on the lookout later this week for information on how you can receive a Northwestern beanie cap at Sunday's game, which also will air live on Comcast SportsNet Chicago.
Get more details on Tuesday's matchup below in the most recent edition of @NULax Gameday At-A-Glance:
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