The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team enters into the 2011 season by returning 10 starters and 17 letterwinners from last year’s Atlantic 10 championship team.
The team graduated three seniors from last year’s squad, and has accented current talent by bringing in 10 freshmen to pad the roster.
From the goalie all the way up the field to the attackers, the Minutewomen are filled with both star players and freshman talent. First year head coach Angela McMahon noted that UMass is building on a rich tradition and they could have the pieces in place to 3-peat in the A-10 conference.
“I think the nice thing about our team right now is that we have both leaders and young players in every spot,” McMahon said. “On our attacking end we have some veteran leaders that have had a lot of success, and now we have some freshmen that are going into that attack position. I think it has been great to really bring in the freshman to give them the confidence to be out there.”
McMahon stressed that it is important for the team to show leadership and chemistry.
“It is nice because we only have three seniors, but each of those seniors plays a different position so we have that leadership all over the field,” McMahon said.
The team is not built on one aspect of the game, and with each player understanding their role, it will be easier for the underclassmen to gain the needed experience to grow and evolve through the season.
“I expect our team to be really balanced not only between the defensive-end through the attack, but I really think we are going to see contributors from every single grade – seniors to freshman,” McMahon said.
Jackie Lyons, a senior attacker from Rocky Point, N.Y, will highlight the attack once again this season.
As a junior, Lyons was named the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year and the A-10 Tournament Most Valuable Player for the second-straight season. During the 2010 season, Lyons led the team in goals (49), assists (20) and points (69) and this year she will try to lead the team statistically as well as vocally.
“Jackie Lyons has been great on the attacking end, and has done a great job communicating with some of the freshman and really bringing them in,” McMahon said.
Lyons has openly accepted her role as an established leader on the team, and she understands that nothing the team did in the past has any bearing on what the team will do this upcoming season.
“I just want to be an A-10 champ at the end of this season,” Lyons said. “I am not worried about any accolades. For now I am just worried about Holy Cross and taking this season one game at a time.”
Along with Lyons, top attackers from last year like Lauren Terracciano, Danielle Pelletier and Jesse O’Donnell return for the Minutewomen.