Niagara Defeats Cincinnati to Earn Season's First Victory

NIAGARA UNIV., N.Y. Niagara defeated Cincinnati, 12-6, to earn its first victory of the season on Saturday afternoon at Niagara Field.

Freshman Taylor Wolf (three goals) and Erin Patenaude (two goals; one assist) collected three points each on the afternoon, while Carrie-Jo Farrugia and Kayla Smith each contributed two goals in the outing.

The win pulled the Purple Eagles even on the young season, 1-1, while Cincinnati falls to 1-3 overall on the year.

"Today was a great team effort, and it was really nice to see us put together a solid effort on both ends of the field," head coach Wendy Stone said. "We showed improvement in the areas we focused on in practice this week, and will look to improve again headed into Tuesday."

The Purple and White received offensive support from Maria Battista, Paige Matecki and Hannah Barnett as well, who tallied a goal each. Freshman goalkeeper Andrea Francisco made her first career start, making 11 saves in the game for her first collegiate win. Her counterpart Megan Gulmi turned away four shots.

Niagara grabbed the early 1-0 lead on Wolf's first tally of the contest with 26:59 remaining. After Cincinnati re-tied the score, the Purple Eagles then pushed its lead to 5-1, experiencing its highest scoring streak of the season with six straight goals. In that time span, Wolf netted her second of the afternoon, while Battista, Patenaude and Farrugia each added one.

Cincinnati then went on its own two goal scoring streak to halt Niagara's momentum. Courtney Curtis scored a pair in the final three minutes of the period to make it a 5-3 game heading into the break.

Niagara continued to control the possession at the start of the second half, and jumped out to a 9-3 lead, with 12:29 remaining in the game. The Purple and White received tallies from Barnett, Patenaude, Smith and Matecki in that span, before Ashley Hemrath stopped NU's scoring streak and brought the Bearcats back to within five goals.

Smith and Wolf would extend the Purple Eagles' lead to seven goals with 4:25 remaining and Farrugia would net the game's final goal with 12 seconds remaining.

In the game overall, Cincinnati held the lead in ground balls, holding a 25-19 advantage. Much of Niagara's success was due to its ability to gain possession on draw controls, as the team collected 18 draw controls on the contest compared to the Bearcats' two.

Niagara will head out on a two-game road trip starting with LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday, March 4 in Brookville, N.Y. and wrapping up on Thursday, March 6 at Binghamton. Both contests are scheduled for 3:00 p.m. starts.


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