December 20, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

BLOG: UMass football recruiting roundup: UMass signs DT, offers two kickers -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass President Robert Caret resigns to become chancellor of the University of Maryland system -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Brandon Montour: ‘It felt great to be out there’ -

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

UMass falls to Northeastern in Brandon Montour’s debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cady Lalanne continues to evolve as a potential outside shooting threat -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

UMass hockey returns to action against Northeastern, Montour to make season debut -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Demetrius Dyson remains hopeful despite rocky start to season -

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Former UMass soccer star Matt Keys aims to continue his career professionally -

Monday, December 15, 2014

Pierre-Louis, Dillard shine in UMass victory over Holy Cross -

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Passing, spacing improved in UMass victory -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Prolific first half propels UMass past Canisius, 75-58 -

Saturday, December 13, 2014

UMass Faculty Senate hears ad hoc committee’s report on FBS football, shoots down contentious motion -

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Minutemen hope improved spacing will aid struggling half court offense -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Divest UMass urges Board of Trustees to split with fossil fuel industry -

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cady Lalanne accustomed to dealing with increased attention -

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Front to Back: Week of Dec. 1, 2014 -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Chiarelli: UMass basketball running out of time to find its identity -

Monday, December 8, 2014

Minutewomen take care of business against American -

Monday, December 8, 2014

UMass women’s basketball handles American, 71-61 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

UMass basketball downed by Florida Gulf Coast 84-75 -

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Venechanos hoping change in practice improves team

In its current three-game losing streak, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team suffered defeats by three nearly identical scores.

The common factor in those contests is a lack of offense. The Minutewomen dropped games to Boston University, Harvard and New Hampshire by scores of 10-8, 10-8 and 11-8, respectively and their offense has been stagnant in reaching double figures.

“Those last three games, I feel we did well, but we didn’t get better in anything from the game before,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said after Tuesday’s practice. “So that’s our goal this upcoming game against Yale is to get better and hopefully get better results.”

In its only other loss this season to five-time defending national champion Northwestern, UMass (2-4) scored only six goals. In their two wins against Holy Cross and Connecticut, however, the Minutewomen scored 15 and 18 goals, respectively.

“The first couple of games, teams don’t really know your tendencies,” Venechanos said. “We had different people on attack and they did their thing, but now teams know what they like to do. We’re getting better at what we do and we’re also changing up a little bit.”

The defense, meanwhile, has played well for the Minutewomen and has given them opportunities to win games. On clears, UMass holds a .742 conversion percentage while holding opponents to 28 goals in the second half, compared to 35 in the first half this season. Sophomore goalkeeper Katie Florence has also been strong in the second half where she’s made 26 saves.

Though the Minutewomen received contributions on the offensive attack from various players this spring, scoring has been inconsistent. UMass has scored the same amount of goals that it’s allowed (63), but in its losing streak, is having trouble generating offense.

Venechanos made some changes in practice, hoping to clear her team’s heads.

“We made things a lot simpler,” Venechanos said. “After six games, you know what people’s strengths are, who needs to be shooting the ball from certain spots, so we simplified things for our girls. We’re looking forward to seeing the results and the girls are excited to put in action what we’ve been practicing.”

UMass’ offensive stats are nearly equal to that of its opponents across the board, except for two areas: ground balls and turnovers.

Opponents have recorded 77 ground balls while UMass has 64 this season. Failure to pick balls off the turf has also led to an increase in turnovers. The Minutewomen have failed to maintain possession at times in their losses, suffering 92 total turnovers.

“It’s difficult with a young team because you don’t know who’s going to show up every game, so we try to tweak stuff when we’re playing, which is a little bit harder,” Venechanos said. “Hopefully what we did this past week in practice will make things a lot easier for the [players].”

With a looming six-game road trip awaiting UMass after Yale, the Minutewomen will look to end their losing streak before leaving Amherst.

“It’s really important to get momentum, but in order to get momentum you have to start with one,” Venechanos said. “That’s our main focus right now is to get that first one.”

Jay Asser can be reached at jasser@student.umass.edu.

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