The No. 13 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team won its second-straight Atlantic 10 contest with a 17-4 win over La Salle on Sunday.
The Minutewomen (9-2, 2-0 A-10) reeled off 14 unanswered goals and shutout the Explorers (4-7, 0-2 A-10) in the second half to remain perfect on the road (6-0).
“It was one of the best halves we’ve played all season, I think,” said UMass coach Angela McMahon. “The huge thing, for us, is just ball possession. We’re winning the draws, we’re getting a lot of caused turnovers and then we’re converting on our shooting.”
Freshman Katie Ferris tallied four goals and two assists to lead nine different UMass scorers. It was Ferris’ seventh hat trick in nine games played this season and the fifth time she recorded five or more points.
“We have a lot of different weapons,” said McMahon. “Today, [Katie Ferris] did a great job of seeing the net, getting really good angled shots in front of the cage and putting them away.”.
Ferris and junior Jessie O’Donnell (three goals, one assist) combined to spark a 10-0 second half for UMass.
O’Donnell misfired on two shots in the first half before scoring or assisting on three of the first four goals to start the final frame. After senior Haley Smith scored her second goal of the afternoon to put the Minutewomen up, 8-4, O’Donnell scored back-to-back goals to push the lead to 10-4.
“[Jesse O’Donnell] has been playing great for us all season… it’s just I think today was a big day for her to start converting on her opportunities, which she did,” said McMahon.
Then, O’Donnell set up Ferris for a goal to give UMass an 11-4 lead with a little over 25 minutes to play in the game. The two scored back-to-back goals and Ferris added another assist on a goal by Sam Rush to swell the lead to 16-4 with 11:36 to play.
The Minutewomen outshot La Salle, 35-13, on the afternoon and 15-3 in the second half. Junior Katie Florence made three saves in over 57 minutes in goal.
A Smith goal with 18:12 left in the first half put UMass up, 3-1, but La Salle then scored the next three goals to take the lead.
Junior Allison Herman’s goal off a Lauren McDermott assist at the 15:15 mark proved to be the final of the game for the Explorers.
The Minutewomen scored four straight goals to end the half, beginning with a tally by senior Jackie Lyons (two goals, one assist) at 14:09 and ending with junior Nina Sarcona’s second goal of the day off a Ferris assist with 1:31 remaining before halftime.
“[La Salle] was very intense and came ready to play those first two minutes,” said McMahon. “We were just a little bit sluggish, so hopefully it’s not a habit for us, because it’s not something we can always get away with in the end, especially in tight games.”
“It’s something we’re going to put focus on: having strong starts [and] hopefully establishing a lead early,” she added.
Dan Gigliotti can be reached at email@example.com.