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Women's lax welcomes CCSU Friday afternoon

Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography
Photo by Gretchen McMahon Photography

SMITHFIELD, R.I. – The Bryant University women's lacrosse team looks to remain perfect in Northeast Conference play when it welcomes Central Connecticut to the Track & Turf Complex on Friday afternoon. Opening draw is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

The Bulldogs (6-4, 2-0 NEC) opened league play in resounding fashion last weekend, earning convincing victories over LIU Brooklyn (19-7) and Sacred Heart (11-5). Bryant has now won its first two NEC games in each of the last six years. The Blue Devils (2-9, 1-1 NEC) split games against the Pioneers and Blackbirds last weekend.

Friday afternoon's meeting will be the 11th between the two programs, with the Black and Gold holding a commanding 8-2 edge in the series. Bryant has won each of the last five meetings, including a 13-4 victory last year in New Britain, Conn. The five-game winning streak includes each of the last three regular-season meetings and victories in the 2013 (11-10) and 2014 (13-7) NEC Tournament Semifinals.

Sophomore Jess DeMeo (Mount Sinai, N.Y.) scored eight goals in Bryant's two games last week, earning her second-straight NEC Player of the Week honor on Monday. DeMeo currently ranks fourth in the NEC in both goals per game (2.70) and points per game (3.30).

After recording just four points over the course of a four-game stretch in mid-March, junior Catlin Brown (San Diego, Calif.) has registered nine points in her last three games. She posted two assists at UMass Lowell, recorded a four-point (3g, 1a) outing against LIU Brooklyn and added a goal and two assists against Sacred Heart.

Senior Molly Martin (Island Park, N.Y.) has started each of the last 47 games for the Bulldogs and finds herself in some rarified air. Martin currently ranks third in Bryant's DI program history with 133 ground balls and needs just five more caused turnovers to become only the second player in DI history to record 100+ in a career. Nicole Rettinger ('13) is the DI leader with 100. In addition, Martin has played in 66 career games and could tie the DI program record of 71 if she plays in each of the final five regular-season games. In 2017, she ranks inside the top-50 nationally in both caused turnovers per game (44th, 1.80) and ground balls per game (31st, 3.00).

The Blue Devils are led offensively by the NEC's leading rookie scorer in Megan Szawlowski. She is the reigning NEC Rookie of the Week and has recorded 20 goals and 19 assists on the year. Marissa Soto (30 goals) and Jessica Giangarra (15 goals) have provided a veteran punch, combing for 45 goals. Senior Courtney McPartland is the team leader in ground balls (34) and caused turnovers (32), while Szawlowski leads the team with 35 draw controls. Jackie Branthover has played every minute in net, posting a 13.09 GAA and a .446 save percentage.