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NU women's lacrosse wins at Quinnipiac, 21-16


NEW HAVEN, Conn. – In a wild offensive matchup Sunday afternoon, both the Niagara women's lacrosse team and the Quinnipiac Bobcats put up their highest single-game goal totals of the 2017 campaign. A two-goal run from Quinnipiac made it 17-16 in the closing minutes, but Niagara scored four times in the final 1:53 of the contest to pull away for the 21-16 victory at Reese Stadium at Yale University.

Three Purple Eagles tallied at least five points, led by Rachel MacCheyne tying her career-high with seven points on five goals and two assists. Alexis Morales scored five times, including two goals to ignite the late four-goal run that secured the victory, and Caroline Crump added four goals and one assist. Alexandra Higgins set a career-high with 14 draw controls for Niagara, besting her previous high of 11 from a win at Stetson March 10.

With the win, the Purple Eagles clinched home field for the first round of the 2017 MAAC Women's Lacrosse Championship on Saturday, April 29. Depending on the results of the conference's final regular-season games, Niagara will host either Quinnipiac or the Monmouth Hawks.

After Jillian Ford won the game's opening draw, Niagara worked the ball up field and Samantha Brill set up Grace Hunt to open the scoring 14 seconds in. From there, however, Quinnipiac went on a 3-0 run until Caroline Crump got Niagara back on the board at the 19:37 mark. With 9:07 left in the first half, Quinnipiac's Julia Corrice put the Bobcats up 5-4, but Niagara used a 5-1 run in the final seven minutes to lead 9-6 after 30 minutes of play. MacCheyne, Crump, Alexis Morales, and Brill all chipped in goals before Audrey Fithall closed the first-half scoring with 32 seconds to go. The two teams combined for seven goals in the first seven minutes coming out of the half. Two Quinnipiac goals to start the second were answered by Niagara as MacCheyne fed Crump to complete her hat trick, and Shea Swartwout scored 18 seconds later off the ensuing draw. The Bobcats used a 5-2 run, including four straight goals, to tie the game at 13-13 at the second half's midway point. Crump and Hailey D'Hont scored 17 seconds apart for the Purple Eagles. With 14:57 to play, Jillian Ford set up MacCheyne for a goal that would give Niagara the lead for good in the game. That tally was followed up by Morales' third tally of the afternoon, and Alexandra Higgins won the ensuing draw before a free-position goal from Fithall made it a 16-13 Niagara lead. Quinnipiac used a 3-1 run over a five minute stretch to make it 17-16 with 3:47 to play. After MacCheyne and Quinnipiac's Briana Fitzgerald, Corrice scored two in a row to put the Bobcats within striking distance. The Bobcats won the ensuing draw but turned the ball over, and Niagara maintained possession before Morales scored with 1:53 left, starting a four-goal Niagara run to close the game. MacCheyne picked up her second assist of the game setting up Morales' fifth goal of the day with 1:22 to play, and Brill and MacCheyne scored insurance goals in the closing minute for the 21-16 victory.