Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

UMass men’s basketball finishes non-conference schedule strong with win over Georgia State -

December 28, 2016

Brett Boeing joins UMass hockey for second half of season -

December 28, 2016

Freshman Ferris helping UM stay undefeated

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

Massachusetts women’s lacrosse coach Angela McMahon bolstered an already potent scoring unit this past season by recruiting a touted attacker in freshman Katie Ferris.

As promising a player as she proved to be, growing pains were an impediment for Ferris to begin the season that were as much physical as they were mental.

An early season injury kept Ferris sidelined for the first two games of the season, but in her first action, her impact was immediate.

“Her vision for the cage and her ability to put the ball away is one of the best I’ve seen of any of the girls I’ve ever coached,” said McMahon before the Minutewomen‘s game at New Hampshire.

Of the five leading point-scorers on the UMass (5-0) roster, four of them are upper classmen, including seniors Jackie Lyons and Haley Smith and juniors Jesse O’Donnell and Danielle Pelletier.

Second on that list is Ferris, who, in three games this season, has scored 11 points (10 goals, one assist) and two-game winning goals.

With an outstanding high school resume to her name and with Ferris’s recruitment, McMahon was confident that her skills would translate quickly into the college game.

Ferris, native of Carthage, N.Y., led Carthage Central High School to four-straight New York state championship appearances and set the state record for most goals scored in a season (138 goals) in her junior season.

Through phone calls and visits, McMahon invested a lot of time courting the touted freshman over the past two years. Ferris chose to follow McMahon to Amherst from Connecticut, where McMahon was the head coach because of her coaching style and personality as well as the program’s potential for national success.

“I just think she’s a great coach, [she] has a great personality. She’s someone that I would want to work hard for everyday,” said Ferris.

“I think she really liked my style, not only with the type of coach I was, but the type of person I was,” McMahon said. “She felt like she could come here and was going to be taken care of and looked after and be, also, challenged and pushed to her limits, in terms of getting better.”

For the first two games of this season, Katie Ferris stood on the sidelines, nursing a minor leg injury, according to McMahon. She watched as UMass squeezed out a 12-10 win at Holy Cross on Feb. 16 and won handily at home against Vermont 17-9 on Feb. 19.

Then, Ferris finally got her first action on Feb. 23 in a game against then-No. 18 Boston University. Ferris scored her first collegiate goal with four seconds left in the game to lift the Minutewomen to their first win over the Terriers since 2007.

“I didn’t expect it at all,” said Ferris. My knee still hurt. I just had to suck it up, go in and perform.”

In her last two games, she has scored nine goals, including a team-high five in a 16-7 win at Siena on Feb. 26 and four in an 11-4 win at UNH on March 2.

Her adjustment to the college game may appear swift, due in large part to the guidance of her teammates.

“The older girls are definitely there for me all the time. If I have any questions, they’re always there to answer them for me,” said Ferris. “The speed of the game [is] much faster than anything in high school. That was definitely the hardest thing to adjust to.

Ferris is tied for the Atlantic-10 lead in goals-per-game (3.33), despite making less than half of her total shots (.455 percent). Aside from the speed of the game, McMahon believes that it’s difficult to adjust to the elevated talent of college opponents.

“She’s still in that learning curve of trying to find the difference between playing high school and college,” said McMahon. “The goalies in college games are a little better. They play better angles, so I think she’s going to make adjustments and hopefully improve that shooting percentage.

Ferris was excited to learn that she earned Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week honors for her second-consecutive week. More so, she is pleased to help her team gain national recognition for their perfect start to the season.

“I was very excited about getting ranked, finally, because I know this team hasn’t been ranked in a very long time and this is the best start we’ve had in a long time,” said Ferris.

Dan Gigliotti can be reached at dgigliot@student.umass.edu.

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