April 14, 2009

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Rawlick, Ruttum Spark Navy over RMU

from press release

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Juniors Erin Rawlick (Forest Hill, Md.) and Mary Ruttum (Annapolis, Md.) combined for seven goals as the Navy women's lacrosse team (10-4) used a dominant second-half effort to put away visiting Robert Morris (7-7) and claim a 14-6 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The win is Navy's fourth in its last five games and gives the upstart Midshipmen program double-digit victories for the second consecutive season (Navy won 13 games during its inaugural campaign in 2008).

"We're happy to come out of here with a win over a feisty Robert Morris squad," said Navy head coach Cindy Timchal. "We really put together a strong all-around effort and I thought we really imposed our will over those final 30 minutes.

"A year ago, we played them in a tight 17-14 game here, so we knew they would be tough. Hopefully this now will give us some momentum heading into the weekend."

Navy scored three unanswered goals in a 35-second span midway through the first half to jump out to a 4-1 lead. The visiting Colonials, however, would bounce right back with three of the next four markers over the subsequent three minutes to cut the deficit to 5-4 at 12:47.

More than 11 minutes would elapse before the game's next score, a free-position tally from Navy sophomore Caitlin Mandrin Hill (Annapolis, Md.) with just 1:23 remaining that gave the Mids a 6-4 advantage after what was a closely-contested first 30 minutes.

Navy would open things up out of the break, scoring five unanswered goals to stake claim to a commanding 11-4 edge at the 13:55 mark. Rawlick, who entered Tuesday tied for third nationally in points, scored two of her game-high four goals during the decisive 16-plus minute stretch to open the period.

The Colonials would eventually halt the run, scoring at 13:19 to make it a 11-5 game, but a relentless Navy defense remained strong and the Mids closed out the game on a 3-1 run to create the final margin.

It was the second-straight game in which Rawlick has paced all scorers with four goals. She has now scored in each of the program's 31 games - the sixth-longest active streak in the country.

Ruttum, meanwhile, breaks out of a recent offensive slump with her third hat trick of the season. After a torrid start to the spring, she entered Tuesday's contest having scored just three goals in her previous seven games.

"I was very encouraged by Mary's play today," said Timchal. "She was very active on both ends, picking up a number of draws and ground balls and finishing well when she had her chances. We will need her to continue to step it up this weekend."

When all was said and done, seven different Navy players had found the back of the net. First-year standouts Madison Bell (Baltimore, Md.) and Kierstin King (Upperco, Md.) each contributed two goals and an assist for the Mids. Bell also added a game-high three caused turnovers, while King added four ground balls.

In the cage, freshman Elaina Ponchione (Silver Spring, Md.) made eight saves (five in the second half) while lowering her goals-against average to 8.24 in recording her 10th collegiate victory. Ponchione, who entered the week ranked first in the Patriot League and sixth in the nation in GAA, also picked up a game-high five ground balls.

On the stat sheet, Navy held a 30-19 advantage in shots for the game, while setting a program-record by collecting 30 ground balls. The Mids also converted 90 percent of their clear attempts (18-of-20) and tied the school's high-water mark with six free position goals (on seven attempts).

Navy will head to Lewisburg, Pa. on Saturday afternoon to take on Bucknell in its 2009 regular season league finale. The Mids can finish anywhere between second and fifth place.

They head into the pivotal conference matchup currently sitting in the fourth and final playoff spot, but will most likely need a win against the Bison (9-5, 4-1 PL) next Saturday to secure a berth into the 2009 Patriot League Tournament.

Notes:

*Navy has now limited eight of their 14 opponents, including four of its last five, to eight or fewer goals ... the Mids entered the week sporting the seventh-ranked scoring defense in the nation (8.30 GA/gm).

* Rawlick has now scored a 13 goals over her last three games, running her conference leading point total to 75 on the season (43 g, 32 a)

* Navy owns a 17-3 mark all-time at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium ... the Mids are 7-2 in non-conference contests this season and 3-0 all-time against Northeast Conference foes

* The Mids twice previously grabbed 29 ground balls, most recently against Saint Francis (Pa.) on March 4, 2008.

* Navy previously converted on six eight-meter attempts in an early-season set back at Longwood (February 28)

* Ruttum and Mandrin Hill both reached the 20-goal mark on the season, giving the Mids a total of five players with 20 or more goals on the spring.


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