Lax Opens BIG EAST Play at Marquette, Hosts Oregon

March 27, 2014

Cincinnati Bearcats
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Marquette Golden Eagles
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Oregon Ducks
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The University of Cincinnati women's lacrosse team takes a program-record five-game winning streak into BIG EAST Conference play on Friday, March 28, when the Bearcats visit Marquette. The contest is set for 7:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. CT at MU's Valley Fields and marks the first-ever BIG EAST contest for the Golden Eagles. UC then returns home for its final non-conference game on Sunday, March 30, when Oregon visits Gettler Stadium for a Noon contest.

Cincinnati and Marquette, two of the youngest programs in the BIG EAST Conference, are meeting for the second time. Last season, in Marquette's first year as an NCAA Division I program, UC took a 14-5 decision at the Sheakley Athletics Center. Courtney Curtis (Mason, Ohio/William Mason) had a four-point performance (two goals, two assists) for the Bearcats in the victory.

Cincinnati and Oregon will be playing for the fifth consecutive season, with the Ducks having taken each of the first four meetings. Last season, Oregon took a 16-5 victory in Eugene, Ore. Ashley Helmrath (Ellicott City, Md./Maryvale Prep) found the back of the cage in the effort for UC, while Meg Gulmi (Syosset, N.Y./Syosset) made 13 saves.

Head coach Meredith Black's Golden Eagles sit at 4-5 in the second varsity season of lacrosse at Marquette and the first season in the BIG EAST Conference. The match-up with Cincinnati is MU's first-ever league game. Marquette is led by Amanda Bochniak, who has scored 25 points (13 goals, 12 assists) on the season. Claire Costanza has contributed 21 points (10 goals, 11 assists). Sarah Priem starts in the cage for the Golden Eagles, sporting a 12.64 goals against average and .333 save percentage. The teams have had three common opponents this season, with both squads scoring wins over Detroit and Coastal Carolina, while they both fell to No. 6 Notre Dame.

Oregon is on the second leg of a two-game swing to face Ohio's lone Division I women's lacrosse programs and visits Cincinnati off a 13-8 loss at No. 17 Ohio State. Shannon Propst leads the Ducks in scoring with 19 goals and 24 assists after registering two goals against the Buckeyes. Carly O'Connell (17 goals, 22 assists), Courtney Valdez (22 goals, four assist) and Nikki Puszcz (21 goals, two assists) are all over 20 points on the season for Oregon. O'Connell also leads the team with 13 caused turnovers, while she's second on the team with 13 ground balls behind Erika McCool's team-leading 14. Caroline Federighi has taken all eight deicions in goal (4-4) while posting an 8.06 goals against average and .462 save percentage. UC and Oregon have played three common opponents thus far, sweeping Stetson, Coastal Carolina and Presbyterian. Head coach Jen Beck's team is 0-2 against the BIG EAST this season, with losses to Temple and UConn by identical scores of 10-8.

Cincinnati enters BIG EAST action for the duration of the regular season on Sunday, April 6, when Louisville visits for a 2:00 p.m. contest.