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‘Cats get back on track, beat UMass

11-game winning streak over Syracuse snapped.

10-game winning streak over Ohio State snapped.

14-game winning streak over Notre Dame snapped.

All three of Northwestern’s losses this season have come to teams it has historically dominated. But the seventh ranked Wildcats managed to preserve one of their most impressive streaks and even snap some of their opponents’ Tuesday night in Amherst.

The ‘Cats handed No. 10 Massachusetts its first loss of the season, winning 10-6 to earn their 13th consecutive victory over UMass and end Massachusetts’ 32-game winning streak at McGuirk Stadium.

"We really wanted to just settle down and continue to do what we’ve been successful at," head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller said.  "I’m pretty proud of the effort. Coming off a big loss two days ago, this was a big win for us.”

UMass entered Tuesday as one of the six undefeated Division I teams in the nation with a record of 9-0. But that did not prevent Northwestern from continuing its success against UMass. (Before Tuesday’s win, the ‘Cats had won each of their previous nine meetings with UMass by at least 10 goals.)

Northwestern scored the first three goals of the contest and led 5-2 at halftime. Another scoring surge to open the second half gave the ‘Cats an 8-2 cushion and all but sealed the victory. Sophomore Kaleigh Craig led the way with a hat trick.

The ‘Cats outshot UMass 20-16, won twice as many ground balls (19) and garnered the edge in draw controls, 10-8.

NU is now 5-3 with a record of 3-1 against teams ranked in the top 10. Northwestern will next face another top 10 opponent, No. 1 and undefeated North Carolina, March 30 at Lakeside Field.

"Playing UNC at home will be a great test for us," Amonte Hiller said.

Game notes:

- Before Tuesday’s game UMass had held its opponents to just under six goals per game. The 'Cats managed 10.

- Northwestern held UMass’ leading scorer Katie Ferris (20 goals) scoreless.

- NU senior Kelly Rich had a career-high four assists. Rich amassed a total of five assists all of last season. She already has six on the year. "She's got great eyes and is a very solid decision maker," Amonte Hiller said of Rich.

- This was one of the most physical games NU has played in this season. Seven yellow cards were given. 62 total fouls were committed. And UMass, which has averaged just under 22 fouls per game this season, had twice that Tuesday.