Scrolling Headlines:

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

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Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

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UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

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Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

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Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

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Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

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UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

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Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

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UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

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UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

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UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

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Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

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Spring Sports Special Issue 2017 -

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UMass men’s lacrosse defense relying on senior leadership with new faces in starting lineup -

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UMass softball fills holes left by seniors with freshmen for 2017 -

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The Hart of the Lineup -

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UMass men’s lacrosse defenseman Tyler Weeks makes his way back from ACL injury -

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UMass softball prepares for a long, busy season in 2017 -

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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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