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NU women's lacrosse hosts Manhattan


The Purple Eagles women's lacrosse team, which wrapped up non-conference play on Tuesday at Michigan, returns to Niagara Field for the first of six MAAC games to close the 2017 regular season. Niagara hosts the Manhattan Jaspers for their second of four home games this month, a 1 p.m. contest on Saturday, April 8.

The Purple Eagles will honor seniors Andrea Francisco, Isabella Leon, Kara Martin, and Hannah Vause with a pregame ceremony for Senior Day at approximately 12:45 p.m. on Saturday. Francisco has led Niagara in goal for the last four years, playing in 61 games and making 56 starts. A team captain this year, she ranks third all-time at Niagara in goals-against average (11.96) and fourth in saves (402). Francisco was named Second-Team All-MAAC after setting career highs with a 9.92 goals-against average, .410 save percentage, and nine wins in 2016. She is also a two-time MAAC All-Academic Team honoree. Leon has played in 22 games and made her first three career starts this season. She has represented the team on Niagara's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) for two years and has been a leader in organizing the team's games to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project and the P.U.N.T. Foundation. She was named to the 2015 and 2016 MAAC All-Academic Teams. A two-year team captain, Martin is Niagara's program record holder with 132 ground balls and 57 caused turnovers in her four-year career. She led Niagara in ground balls twice, collecting 30 in 2014 and 44 in 2015. Martin was named to the 2016 Preseason All-MAAC Team, the 2015 All-MAAC Second Team, and the 2014 MAAC All-Rookie Team. She was also named to the 2016 IWLCA Academic Honor Roll in addition to being a two-time MAAC All-Academic Team member. Vause has been a leader in Niagara's community service efforts, most notably with S.A.B.A.H. and Team IMPACT. She has played 31 games at attack and scored her first career goal Feb. 20 against St. Bonaventure.

On Tuesday, the Purple Eagles traveled to Michigan Stadium for a third consecutive season, wrapping up their non-conference schedule against the Michigan Wolverines. After an early 4-0 deficit, Niagara scored three unanswered goals to draw within one late in the first period. Michigan scored twice in the final 41 seconds to go until halftime and outscored Niagara 13-7 in the second period as the Purple Eagles fell 20-10. Rachel MacCheyne tied a season-high with five points to lead the Niagara offense, scoring four goals and adding one assist. Fellow sophomores Caroline Crump and Alexis Morales added a pair of goals. Alexandra Higgins tallied season-highs in ground balls (five) and caused turnovers (four) at Michigan, adding three draw controls. Lauren Paul also tied her season- and career-high with four ground balls, while Kara Martin added two ground balls and two caused turnovers.