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Balanced attack leads NU women's lacrosse over Siena, 15-9


LOUDONVILLE -- The Niagara women's lacrosse team is now 3-1 in MAAC play for the first time since 2003 after picking up a 15-9 win over the Siena Saints Wednesday afternoon at Siena Turf Field. The Purple Eagles turned in a complete effort with the offense scoring its third-most goals in a game while the defense tied its second-best effort of the year, also allowing nine goals at Iona in the team's MAAC opener.

Rachel MacCheyne posted her fifth five-point game of the season, pacing the Niagara offense with four goals and one assist. Caroline Crump added three goals and one assist, and Audrey Fithall, Jillian Ford, and Grace Hunt all tallied three points.

At the defensive end, Alexandra Higgins continued her impressive junior campaign, leading all players with five ground balls and six draw controls. Andrea Francisco made 12 saves in goal, including nine in the second period to help Niagara to victory.

Niagara's offense dominated the first period, outshooting the Saints 27-8 in the opening 30 minutes.
Caroline Crump scored the first three goals of the game for the Purple Eagles, but tallies from Siena's Michelle Schwartz and Briana Sirianni had the Saints within one midway through the opening period.
Jillian Ford's goal with 10:32 left until halftime started up a five-goal run that gave Niagara a commanding lead of 8-2. Rachel MacCheyne scored a hat trick during the late run, and Audrey Fithall picking up her sixth of the season off a feed from Samantha Brill. Two goals by the Saints in the final 3:29 of the first period cut Niagara's lead to four at the half, but the Purple Eagles responded by striking three times in the first four minutes after halftime. Grace Hunt set up a pair of goals by Fithall and Jillian Ford, and Brill made it an 11-4 lead with a free-position tally. After Siena's Alexis Deaken scored twice in a 32-second stretch, but Niagara held Siena off the board for 11 minutes after that point. MacCheyne set up a goal by Alexis Morales before converting herself off a pass from Ford to push the Niagara lead to 13-6 midway through the second period. Grace Hunt and Mackenzie Molodetz found the back of the net in the closing 10 minutes of the game, and goalkeeper Andrea Francisco rounded out the final period of play with nine saves on 14 shots on goal as the Purple Eagles closed out the 15-9 win over Siena.

The Purple Eagles now return to Niagara Field for their final two regular-season home games, starting with an 11 a.m. matchup against the Monmouth Hawks on Saturday.