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UMass football fall camp: Minutemen look for Robert Kitching to anchor defensive line -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Closing arguments delivered in Adam Liccardi rape trial -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Early goals sink UMass men’s soccer in loss to Saint Peter’s -

Monday, August 31, 2015

UMass field hockey splits weekend matches with UNH and BU -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass women’s soccer struck by injuries, struggles offensively as it falls to No. 24 Rutgers -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rising UMass sophomore dies unexpectedly -

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Minutewomen get back to the basics

After suffering its second straight loss on Saturday, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will look to improve aspects of its game when it faces New Hampshire this afternoon.

“Our first three games were lop-sided in both directions,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said. “We’re really taking care of those little things: ball possession, running for the ball. [We’re] going through the things that you need to reexamine when we look back at the game tape.”

The loss against the Crimson (1-0) produced three obstacles for the Minutewomen (2-3) to improve on in today’s contest against the Wildcats (2-0).

“We’re trying to get used to each other, we’re trying to get people comfortable in certain spots,” Venechanos said. “It’s a work in progress, and I think we’re getting there.”

Clears

In the contest against Harvard, UMass could not match the Crimson in the clears category. Harvard went 10-for-10 in clears, well above the Minutewomen’s 9-for-14 mark. UMass totaled the same amount in clears in its 10-8 loss to No. 10/11 Boston University.

“We were not ten-for-ten, I think we’re more worried about that and we’re worried about what we need to do,” Venechanos said. “A lot of it is timing, getting used to each other, and getting each other’s tendencies. We’ve done a lot of clearing these last couples of days. We’ve been working on making better passes, running for your catches.”

In their first game of the season against Northwestern, the Minutewomen did not clear the ball once during the contest.

During its first two wins of the season, UMass cleared the ball 10 times against Holy Cross and 11 times against Connecticut. When the Minutewomen have failed to earn double-digits in clears, they have gone on to lose the contest.

This season, UNH has had success with clearing the ball, going 23-of-30 in clears in its first two victories of the spring.

Turnovers

In the match against the Crimson, the Minutewomen found themselves down a goal with the ball at midfield. After calling a timeout, the opening pass went wide and UMass suffered one of its 17 turnovers in the contest in what Venechanos called “the theme of the game.”

“We put ourselves in about ten of those situations again,” Venechanos said. “We put two minutes on the clock [at practice] and went through those situations. I told them that we have the ball, it’s not like you need the ball back.”

The Minutewomen have struggled this season with keeping the ball, accounting for 77 turnovers throughout their first five games. Meanwhile, UMass’ opponents have earned 67 in the same category.

“We did the hard work,” Venechanos said. “We usually do the hard work in finishing the play, but that comes with maturity, that comes with experience. It’s hard to simulate those game situations in practice, but I think we did the best we can in these last couple of days.”

Despite Venechanos’ worries about the turnover ratio, UNH has had its own set of faults when it comes to keeping possession.

The Wildcats have committed 34 turnovers in their first two games, an amount that the Minutewomen reached after their third game.

“We got the ball a couple of times,” Venechanos said. “We turned the ball over. That’s what we’ve been reassessing in these close games, every turnover. Everything is a lot more magnified when you play in these one-goal games.”

Draw Controls

One key piece of the puzzle for the UMass squad has always come from its belief in draw controls.

Coincidentally, in its last two losses of the season, the Minutewomen were the victors in draw controls. While it was ousted 21-5 in draw controls to Northwestern, which lead to a 18-8 loss, UMass has been successful in the category since.

In the match against the Crusaders, the Minutewomen had 13 more draw controls than their opponents (18-5), and four more than the rival Huskies when they faced them on Feb. 20.

Despite the two losses against the Terriers (1-0) and the Crimson, UMass beat both teams in draw controls by a 13-6 margin and an 11-9 margin, respectively.

Herb Scribner can be reached at hscribne@student.umass.edu.

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