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Women's lacrosse notebook: Towson causing turnovers at a record rate

For the second straight year, Towson's women's lacrosse team is on pace to set a program record for caused turnovers.

The Tigers have been known for their defense in recent years, but Olivia Conti, Tianna Wallpher (Mount Hebron) and Sami Chenoweth (Manchester Valley) have taken that to another level this spring, combining for 102 of the team's 176 caused turnovers. The No. 6 Tigers rank third in Division I in scoring defense, allowing 7.93 goals per game. They're also third in caused turnovers per game with 12.5.

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Coach Sonia LaMonica said part of the equation is experience.

Last season, the trio led the way as the Tigers caused 216 turnovers. Conti, last year's Colonial Athletic Association Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman, set a program record with 49. Senior Wallpher, an All-CAA selection, had 38 and sophomore Chenoweth, a CAA All-Rookie selection, had 28, both ranking among the program's single-season top 10.

This spring, Conti has 40, Wallpher has 35 and Chenoweth, 27.

"We have three outstanding defenders that have different strengths, but together combine to make a heck of a wall for us back there," said LaMonica, whose Tigers play a variation of the "backer" zone defense.

"Sami just makes such great reads and intercepting passes. She really keys in on her opponents and reads their body language and makes great plays as opposed to just reacting as a defender. Liv is just a go-getter. She's a playmaker. She makes things happen. She's smothering and she just sees opportunities with the stick checks. She's really good at that. Tianna will outwork everybody. She'll put her body on the line, drawing charges. You put them together and it's like a three-headed monster."

Tigers' goalie Kylie Keating has a .532 save percentage, ranking eighth in Division I while her goals-against average of 8.0 is third.

The Tigers (12-2) are 4-0 in the CAA heading into Friday night's game against Hofstra at Johnny Unitas Stadium. If they win that, they will face their top CAA nemesis, No. 4 James Madison, for the conference regular-season championship April 28 at Johnny Unitas Stadium.

The Dukes, defending CAA champions, will host the tournament May 4 and 6.

Can UMBC do it again?

The Retrievers men's basketball team knocked off No. 1 Virginia. The men's lacrosse team upset No. 1 Albany. The women's lacrosse team will try to continue that trend when it travels to No. 1 Stony Brook Saturday at 3 p.m.

Coming off a 16-14 win over Vermont, the Retrievers (10-5) are 2-3 in the conference, but still have a chance to make the America East tournament with two games left. While they are tied in the series with Stony Brook, the five-time defending America East champions, the Seawolves have won the past eight meetings.

Klages has a career day for UNC in big ACC win

Although John Carroll graduate Kara Klages has been a steady contributor to No. 4 North Carolina's success, she has been overshadowed in an attack filled with All-Americans and All-America candidates. Saturday, the junior had a career day with five goals against Syracuse.

Coach Jenny Levy cited Klages as being one of the "absolutely dominant" players in the team's 20-11 Atlantic Coast Conference victory. Before that, Klages had never scored more than two goals for the Tar Heels. She also had six draw controls against the Orange.

Sunday, she had two goals and two assists in a 22-3 win over Canisius to improve her season totals to 19 goals and five assists. She also has 10 caused turnovers, 22 draw controls and 14 ground balls for the Tar Heels, who are second in the ACC standings behind No. 2 Boston College.

Quick hits

Maryland's Megan Whittle, who broke the No. 3 Terps' record for career goals last week, ranks sixth in Division I with 56 goals…No. 11 Navy's Jenna Collins is seventh with 55...No. 1 Salisbury is one of only four undefeated teams in Division III...No. 8 Loyola Maryland is outscoring its Patriot League opponents by 12 goals per game...No. 9 Florida has won 28 straight games against Big East opponents.

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