April 19, 2012
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati lacrosse team returns to Nippert Stadium to host Connecticut and No. 2 Syracuse in its final home contests of the season. The Bearcats play UConn on Friday, April 20 at 3:30 p.m. for its annual ‘Think Pink’ game and welcomes the Orange for Senior Day on Sunday, April 22 at 12 p.m. Admission for both games is free to the public.
The nine seniors, including Gwen Branscome, Jenn Doran, Maggie Hague, Cathy Hebert, Ali Mattingly, Rachel Mercier, MacKenzie Parsons, Laura Simanski and Gabby Sinmaz will be honored in a postgame celebration following the conclusion of Sunday’s contest.
BEARCATS AGAINST THE OPPONENTS
UConn and SU both lead the all-time series against Cincinnati, 3-0.
The Huskies are 7-5 overall with a 0-4 mark in BIG EAST play. UConn is led by M.E. Lapham with a team-best 40 goals, while Kiersten Tupper had a team-high 15 assists. The Huskies most recent loss was at the hands of No. 9 Notre Dame, 16-9.
The Orange are No. 2 in the nation with an 11-2 overall record and undefeated 4-0 BIG EAST mark. SU is on a 10-game winning streak and is also No. 1 in the latest RPI for the first time in school history. Syracuse is led by Alyssa Murray, who has a league-best 67 points (44g, 23a) and this week's BIG EAST offensive player of the week Michelle Tumulo with 59 points on 31 goals and a team-high 28 assists. Alyssa Constantino has earned a 8.83 goals against average and .527 save percentage.
Both of Cincinnati's matchups this weekend peg both of UC's assistant coaches against their alma mater. Assistant coach Lauren Gunning will face her former UConn team, while fellow assistant Breanna Stiff will reunite with the Orange on Sunday. Gunning was a four-year attack for the Huskies and Stiff was a four-year letterwinner at SU, who helped her senior-year squad finish with a 15-9 record and advanced to the Final Four fo rthe second time in three seasons.
LAST TIME OUT
UC attempted a late first half comeback with four-consecutive goals in the final six minutes, but it wasn't enough as it was defeated by Rutgers, 13-10, on April 15 at Yurcak Field. Cincinnati's attack was led by Laura Simanski, while six others netted goals for the Bearcats. Rachel Mercier scored a goal in her 12th-consecutive game. After being outscored 6-2 in the first half, Cincinnati came storming back in the second half, outscoring the Scarlet Knights 8-7, but it wasn't enough to outlast Rutgers.
MERCIER ON SCORING STREAK
Senior Rachel Mercier has scored a goal in every game this season, including a career-high four goals against Iona in the Bearcats' home opener. Mercier entered her senior season with 11 career goals and has already surpassed that total with 16 goals this season alone.
DOMINATING OFF THE DRAW
Cincinnati ties for first in the BIG EAST in draw controls per game with 15.00, while freshman Megan Bell is first in the league and 11th in the nation in the same category (4.92).
THE BEST YET
The Bearcats will honor nine seniors after the conclusion of Sunday's contest against Syracuse, including UC's all-time leading scorer Laura Simanski. Simanski, a senior captain, is the career leader in points (162), goals (147), shots (293) and games started (61). She holds the record for most points (52) and goals (47) in a single season as a freshman. Simanski leads the team in goals (32) and points (37) this season after starting every game. Her seven goals against Villanova on April 30, 2010 are the most goals scored by a Bearcat in a single game.
WINNING IN THE CLASSROOM
Every member on the Bearcats roster has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. UC also earned the BIG EAST Team Academic Excellence Award for having the highest GPA in the league during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.