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Deely Sets Groundball Mark, Three Bucs with First Goal

Mikayla Houlihan, © Justin Reidy
Mikayla Houlihan, © Justin Reidy

Buzzards Bay, Mass. – Ten different Buccaneers scored and Mikayla Houlihan, Caitlin Townsend, and Hannah Mannai all scored their first career goals for Massachusetts Maritime Academy as it romped over visiting Dean College 17-1. Stephanie Hunt collected seven points and Anna Deely broke the freshman groundball record as women's lacrosse improved to 5-5, tying the mark for most wins in a season.

Maritime took control from the get-go, winning the opening draw control and scoring just over a minute into the game after Hunt fed Casey Sullivan a helper. Dean played the entire game with no substitutes and missing two players and, while Coach Marc Palombo reciprocated by keeping a starter on the bench, the lead was 13-0 at halftime.

Houlihan scored the game's fifth goal and erupted in wild celebration as the freshman, who normally plays in defense, raced through the midfield before firing home for her first. With Palombo using his three substitutes freely, the team's regular scorers took a backseat to players like Mannai, who caught a feed from Hunt at 19:48 to make the score 7-0. Chloe Doucette also had a brace in the first half.

The rangy Makayla Fisher got Dean on the board four-and-one-half minutes into the second, getting a helper from Shania Springer to make it 13-1. Townsend would net her first with 1:09 left in the game, the only goal scored in the last 13 minutes.

In total, the Bucs shot 36 times, putting 26 on target. Deely took the most shots, eight, converting on four, while Hunt scored twice and had five assists for the second game in-a-row. The senior, who holds most Maritime offensive records, notched her 30th assist of the season, 10 more than her own record set in 2016.

Sullivan collected a hat trick and added an assist, giving her 24 points in her last five games. Her 32 goals on the season are tied for second-most ever by a Buc rookie, only five behind Hunt's 2015 mark. Sullivan leads the MASCAC in shooting percentage among players with more than 15 shots with a 60.4 percentage.

"It was a good game for us to be able to practice some things we have been working on this week," explained Palombo. "We wanted them to try a few new things with coming up to get [loose] balls."

The practice seemed to pay off as the women picked up 36 groundballs in what was at times quite a scrappy contest, certainly one of the best single-game totals in MMA history. Deely was one of four players with five pickups now third in the conference. Her season total of 39 beats Kianna Carpenter's 2014 record of 36 for most by a freshman, though the rookie record is still Kim Courcy's 46 in the program's first year. Courcy, however, was a junior in 2012. Carpenter holds the career groundball record at 145.

"It's a little hard to tell [how much] progress we made, but we were certainly better today," noted the team's skipper. "I still think we have our work cut out for us, but we are getting better."

"In terms of trying new things, the girls gained confidence," added Assistant Coach Olivia Coakley. "It was a good pick-me-up after a tough couple of games."

Yesterday, Hunt added another accolade to her impressive list this week as she was tabbed to the MASCAC Honor Roll after her five-assist effort at conference foe Worcester State on Saturday. It is her second appearance of the year. With tonight's effort, Hunt is second in the MASCAC in assists, third in points (55), and tied for tenth in goals (25).

The visitors dropped to 0-7, while Mass Maritime improved to 5-5 (0-2 in the MASCAC). The team hosts Westfield State (10-1, 2-0) this Friday at 7 p.m. at Clean Harbors Stadium. Admission is free and all are welcome.

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