As the University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team heads
to Philadelphia for the Atlantic 10 tournament, a great deal of their success can be accredited to freshman attacker Katie Ferris.
Ferris, a Carthage N.Y. native, was a four-year All-Star at Carthage Central High School and helped bring her team to four consecutive state championship bids. However, the transition from the high school to the collegiate level can often times be a difficult transition to make for any player.
This college transition can become even more difficult when facing adversity in the form of injuries. Ferris missed the first two games of the regular season because of a knee injury. Because of this, Ferris’ role on the team remained unknown after the first two games of the season.
In the third game of the season against No. 18 Boston University, Ferris saw field for the first time this season, and she immediately made her presence felt. Even though Ferris did not start the game, she ended it. With the game knotted up at 12 against BU, Ferris scored the go-ahead goal – her first collegiate goal – with just four seconds left in regulation.
“She is definitely a standout player; her ability to finish around the goal is as good as anyone I have ever seen play the sport,” said McMahon.
Ferris’s production did not slow down. In the Minutewomen’s next game at Siena, she got a chance to start and didn’t take long to make an impact. Ferris scored five goals on 13 shots, and helped lead the Minutewomen to a 16-7 victory and a 4-0 start to the season.
Even with such standout offensive production in her first two games of the season, Ferris still has some areas in which she could improve, like her shooting percentage.
“She has a knack for scoring and her shooting is fantastic. But early on, she had a lot of shots, and a lower shooting percentage, I think she has worked real hard to take better shots on goal and increase her shooting percentage,” said McMahon.
As the season progressed, Ferris not only improved her shooting percentage to just under .500, but she also began getting teammates involved by adding assists to her already deep offensive repertoire.
“I think Jackie Lyons has been a huge part of that in terms of mentoring her on the field because, in high school, Katie was more of a scorer. She did not have many assists, and I think she is trying to improve her game and take it to the next level by passing and making plays,” said McMahon.
Ferris finished the season with 47 goals, 11 assists and a total of 58 points. Her 47 goals were a team-high for the Minutewomen and her 58 overall points tied Lyons for the team lead. Her ability to score and her strong offensive presence also allowed other players on the team to get more shots on net and increase production.
This helped senior midfielder Haley Smith a great deal, who posted 30 goals this season, up from 12 goals that she posted as a junior. The experience that Ferris is getting on the field is not only helping her teammates, it is also helping her with her vision and ability to read defenses.
“The team obviously took to her because they were impressed with her ability to score and they wanted to work her into the offense. It is just helping our team as a whole, and I think we are a lot more balanced in terms of our offense,” said McMahon.
The Minutewomen hope to bring that balance to the A-10 tournament in order to to win the conference for the third-straight time..
Nicholas Bellofatto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.