LOWELL, MA  – Junior forward Rachel McCarthy matched a career-high with four goals and an assist to lead UMass Lowell field hockey past Saint Michael’s College, 6-0, in its home opening victory.

“I thought we played a great first half and an ever better second half,” said head coach Shannon Hlebichuk. “We were able to get some of our younger, inexperienced players in and I thought they did a fantastic job.”

UMass Lowell’s first goal came early, capitalizing on a Purple Knights’ turnover inside their own circle in the 10th minute. Junior Melissa Effertz scooped up the turnover and passed to McCarthy at the goal mouth for the finish into the right corner.

“I think she needed an ice-breaker goal,” said Hlebichuk of McCarthy. “Once the first one fell it was going to be natural for the rest to fall.”

Saint Michael’s defense stood strong following the goal, highlighted by a pair of electric saves by keeper Sarah Healey on back-to-back one-timers from Chelsea Gillies and Wilcox.

Despite the tougher defense, the River Hawks slipped another goal in before the half finished. In the 27th minute, senior Vanessa Kent sent in a corner to the top of the circle. Wilcox stopped the ball for McCarthy, who sent it right back to Wilcox for a powerful shot that seared through traffic and into the goal.

After outshooting Saint Michael’s 17-1 in the first half, the flood gates opened in the second half as UMass Lowell poured in four more goals.

McCarthy poked in her second in the 37th minute. Effertz carried down the goal line and centered the ball to McCarthy for a tap in.

Gillies put the River Hawks up 4-0 just over a minute later as she knocked in a rebound for her first tally of the season and second of her career.

McCarthy scored twice more before the final buzzer. The first came on a scramble in front of the net where she won the loose ball and sent it past the keeper at 46:34. In the 63rd minute, junior Janelle DeCamillis sent in a corner and McCarthy used a scoop shot to go over the entire defense and into the net.

Goalkeepers Melanie Hopkins and Bryanna Bourbeau split time in net for the River Hawks. Hopkins (2-1) made one save in 54 minutes of work, while Bourbeau subbed in for the final 12.