On a rainy, slushy day, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team fell short in a defensive showdown against Boston University, suffering its first loss at home this season.
BU entered McGuirk Stadium not having played a game this year, something UMass (2-2) dealt with in its prior two opponents, Holy Cross and Connecticut. This time, however, the Minutewomen wouldn’t start off their opponent’s season with a loss, as the No. 10 Terriers claimed the 10-8 victory.
Despite the unpleasant conditions, UMass coach Alexis Venechanos was adamant that the weather didn’t disrupt the play of her team.
“We practice like this every single day, so it was fine to play in it,” Venechanos said after the game.
To begin the first half, UMass and BU exchanged possessions and shots which missed wide and off the mark. Both the Minutewomen and Terriers received free position opportunities, but could do nothing with them, keeping the contest scoreless.
When the scoring wave began, goals were exchanged back and forth, with BU getting out ahead and UMass responding to keep itself in striking distance.
BU scored the first goal of the contest and the first of its season from Danielle Etrasco at the 23 minute, 45 second mark. The Terriers quickly tacked on a second goal from Corcoran Downey just 59 seconds later.
Senior Merritt Cosgrove, however, answered with her fourth goal of the season nearly a minute later to get the Minutewomen on the board.
BU deliberately controlled the possession for much of the first half, passing the ball around the perimeter until choosing to attack. The strategy paid off on the Terriers’ third goal of the day, as McKinley Curro scored after BU spent nearly two minutes spreading the field.
Jackie Lyons responded 47 seconds later with her sixth goal of the season to keep the deficit at one.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Curro scored her second goal of the contest to give the Terriers a 4-2 lead.
Lyons replied again 41 seconds later with her second goal to close the gap to one. BU then created separation, netting three unanswered goals from Traci Landy, Etrasco and Kristen Mogavero to give BU a 7-3 lead heading into halftime.
The second half began with Lyons completing the hat trick in the first three minutes to cut into the Terriers’ lead. The score marked the second hat trick of the season for the junior, with the first coming in UMass’ home-opening win against Holy Cross.
With under 20 minutes remaining, Landy scored her second goal to give BU an 8-4 lead. Nearly five minutes later, freshman Cori Murray scored the first goal of her career, in an attempt to mount a Minutewomen comeback.
The Terriers quickly ended any momentum UMass picked up on the goal, as Landy completed her own hat trick over a minute later to match Lyons.
Sophomore Colleen Mulligan then got into the books at the 12:05 mark, scoring her second goal of the season. Then, UMass’ leading scorer finally got into the action, as Jesse O’Donnell scored her 10th and 11th goals of the season to cut the deficit back to one.
However, just as the Minutewomen worked their way back into the contest, Landy scored her fourth goal to give BU a comfortable two-score lead heading down the stretch.
Despite UMass’ efforts to tie the game, the Terriers sat on the ball, passing it around in the final four minutes to kill the clock and preserve the 10-8 win.
“It’s a game of momentum, and I felt we had it at certain times,” Venechanos said. “It’s frustrating, but the effort was there. BU is a very good team and they proved that they’re calm and poised at the end of the game.”
After allowing seven goals in the first half, the UMass defense played well and allowed three scores in the second half. Venechanos was pleased with her defense, but feels they have to play even better and not lean on the offense.
“I thought we did a good job on defense after the first half,” she said. “We have to still work on the clearing, the ground balls, and make it easier for our attack. Next game we don’t want to put so much pressure on the attack and force them to make every shot.”
UMass is back in action on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Harvard in the second match of its four-game home stint.
Jay Asser can be reached at email@example.com.