The No. 13 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team opened up its Atlantic 10 conference play with a 12-9 win over Temple on Thursday afternoon.
The Minutewomen received a game-high five goals and one assist from freshman Katie Ferris.
Despite missing the first two games of the season, Ferris leads her team in goals scored with 26, and her 3.25 goals per game average ranks first in the A-10.
“When we get inside and get good angled shots [Katie] can put them away,” said UMass head coach Angela McMahon. “She has the great ability to finish when she’s in good position.”
The Minutewomen jumped out to an early 5-2 edge just 12 minutes and 20 seconds into the game. However, Temple picked up their play on both ends, shutting out the Minutewomen for the rest of the half, while tacking on a pair of goals before the end of the half. UMass held just a 5-4 lead heading into break, as McMahon was not pleased with her team’s performance to close out the first half.
“We just didn’t do a good job of doing the little things and working hard off ball on the draw controls like we should have,” said McMahon.
Ferris had two of her goals in the half, while Dayna Defliese, Riley Perry and Haley Smith each added a goal.
At this point, UMass goalie Katie Florence (four saves) was replaced in net by attacker Nina Sarcona. This switch was planned in advance as Florence’s back injury, suffered in last weekend’s game versus Northwestern, flared up.
“The fact that we’re playing two games this weekend, we just wanted to give (Katie) a little rest,” said McMahon.
The Minutewomen came out of the second half with a vengeance, ripping off five unanswered goals and extending their lead to six.
Ferris again led the attack, providing a goal and a impressive assist to fellow freshman Tanner Guarino. Senior Jackie Lyons came to life during the stretch as well, tossing in both of her goals on the afternoon.
It was evident that McMahon had delivered a halftime speech that ignited a much-needed spark in the Maroon and White’s attack.
“She told us to get it together and go out there and play the way we usually do,” said Ferris.
With the game slipping away from the Owls, Kelsey Zenuk finally stopped the bleeding with her first goal of the game at the 22:44 mark in the second half. The teams then traded goals before Ferris capped off her performance by scoring her fifth goal of the game. Down 12-6, Temple coach Bonnie Rosen called a timeout and attempted to regroup her team.
With just under 10 minutes remaining and the game seemingly out of reach, the Owls made a run at the lead cutting the deficit to just three with two minutes and 46 seconds remaining on goals from Jackie Mercer, Stephany Parcell and Missy Schweitzer. But it was too little too late as UMass controlled the ball and let the clock run out, making the final score, 12-9.
Temple stayed competitive with their slow, deliberate style of play, as they maximized time on their possessions.
The most alarming statistic of the night was UMass’ 22 fouls to Temple’s 4, a product of the time of possession discrepancy held by the Owls.
“I was happy with the win, but I wasn’t happy with the way we played, we’re a lot stronger than that,” said Sarcona, who made two stops in net and also added an assist on offense.
Lyons was the only other Minutewomen with more than a goal, as she registered two goals and an assist.
Charlotte Swavola was Temple’s best source of offense, scoring two goals and handing out two assists. Parcell recorded a hat trick and Schweitzer added a pair of goals.
Now the Minutewomen will hit the road to face La Salle, their second A-10 opponent of the season, on Sunday at 11 a.m.
The game will be a rematch of last years semi-final game in the A-10 tournament, a game in which UMass won, 9-7.
Jackson Alexander can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.