#2 Northwestern Dominates Draws, #20 UMass

AMHERST, Mass. - No. 2 Northwestern translated 24 of 26 draw control wins into a 17-7 victory over No. 12 UMass in front of 1,013 fans at McGuirk Stadium on Saturday night. The Wildcats move to 9-0 on the season thanks to five goals from Erin Fitzgerald. UMass received two goals from Haley Smith and Jesse O'Donnell.

The Minutewomen move to 7-2 overall and will begin Atlantic 10 play next Friday, April 1 against Temple in McGuirk Stadium.

Along with Fitzgerald, Northwestern received two goals and three assists from Shannon Smith and three goals from Amanda Macaluso. Brianne LoManto made six saves in the win.

Katie Florence made eight saves in goal for UMass in 51 minutes of work before Chelsea Corell made her first career appearance. Along with O'Donnell and Smith, Katie Ferris turned in a goal and an assist, while Tanner Guarino and Danielle Pelletier also chipped in a goal each.

The draw control advantage for the Wildcats allowed Northwestern to hold a 33-to-18 shot advantage. The Minutewomen did force NU into committing 17 turnovers, while UMass has just 10 miscues.

Over the first 10 minutes of the game, Northwestern jumped out to a 5-0 lead thanks to three goals by Fitzgerald. The Wildcats scored the games first goal of the game just 18 seconds into action.

O'Donnell quelled the run before Fitzgerald netted her fourth with 13:13 left in the first half. Ferris and Pelletier scored back to back goals to make the game 6-3, but Northwestern spanned a seven-goal run through to the second half.

Macaluso scored her third goal of the game with 24:37 left in the 2nd half to cap the run.

Despite Northwestern holding a 13-0 advantage in draw controls for the second half, UMass was able to force six turnovers which the Minutewomen converted into four goals.

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AMHERST, Mass. -- Thanks to an overwhelming 24-2 advantage in draw controls and a career-best five goals by sophomore Erin Fitzgerald, second-ranked Northwestern handed No. 20 Massachusetts its second defeat of the season, 17-7, Saturday night in Amherst. The 'Cats got off to a 5-0 early lead and never allowed the Minutewomen to cut the deficit below three in improving to 9-0.

"Alex (Frank) and Alyssa (Leonard) have been doing really well on the draw and our girls on the circle have been doing a great job the last two games," said head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. "When you dominate draw controls it makes it easy for you to create opportunities for yourself. Overall, we played decent, we still need to tighten up our turnovers because we had a few too many."

NU's ability to retain possession of the draw -- highlighted by Alyssa Leonard's seven and Taylor Thornton's five -- was never more apparent than in the second half Saturday, where the Wildcats were 13 for 13 off the restart.

Contributing to NU's seventh straight game with at least 16 goals were Amanda Macaluso (three goals) and Shannon Smith, who notched two goals and three assists to become the 12th player in Wildcats history to reach the 200 career points plateau.

Freshman Kelly Rich put Northwestern ahead 1-0 only 18 seconds into the contest with her 14th goal of the season, and NU was rolling after that. Fitzgerald notched her first of back-to-back goals off a free position attempt which Brianne LoManto followed up with a big save to end UMass' first possession. Only moments later, a cutting Alex Frank forced a Minutewoman timeout when she took a feed from Smith and finished to put the Wildcats in front, 4-0.

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