April 16, 2014

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UMass cruises past UNH amid wintry conditions, remains undefeated

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team battled through frozen precipitation for the second consecutive game on Wednesday afternoon, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Minutewomen’s undefeated start to the season.

UMass (4-0) easily handled New Hampshire despite the snow, 17-5, on a slippery surface at McGuirk Stadium that made the game much sloppier than either team would have liked.

“Obviously we had to face some pretty adverse conditions today,” said UMass coach Angela McMahon. “We did a pretty good job of stepping up and not letting the weather deter our game plan. I was impressed with how well we were able to minimize our turnovers considering [the weather].”

The Minutewomen took care of the ball relatively well despite the conditions. Turnovers were even throughout the game, with UMass forcing the Wildcats (0-2) into 22 turnovers while turning it over 21 times itself.
Katie Ferris starred in the rivalry matchup after having a quiet game against Marist, in which she didn’t record any points. The sophomore attacker led the team with 10 points, spread evenly with five goals, and five assists.

“She played fantastic today,” said McMahon. “I know she’s always going to get her shots, and a couple goals, but her having five assists is a credit to her continuing to improve as a player, and being sort of a field general for us, seeing the whole field and finding her teammates. So I’m really proud of the five assists she had today.”

Including Ferris, 12 players recorded a point in the rout, with the Minutewomen totaling 29 points between goals and assists. The number of assisted goals was pleasing to McMahon.

“Definitely [it is impressive],” said McMahon. “I think the weather factored into that a little, in allowing us to cut, and beat our defenders. I’m definitely proud of the girls for keeping their heads up and being able to find the open player.”

After Ferris, the Minutewomen’s next best point-getter, Nina Sarcona, recorded a hat trick and a helper for four points. Both Lauren Terracciano (two goals, one assist), and Jesse O’Donnell (one goal, two assists) collected three points.

The draw-control duties were shared during the match, but that didn’t deter UMass continuing to come out on top in the category. Sarcona continued her push for the career draw-control record, currently held by UNH assistant coach Meghan Reddy (124), controlling four times. Ali Houlis also won four draws for the Minutewomen.

Along with winning draws, Houlis was all over the snow-covered field, collecting a total of nine ground balls. The nine was one fewer than the rest of the UMass squad picked up as a whole.

“[The nine ground-balls is] a little bit of both the weather, and practice,” said McMahon. “She has great anticipation, and plays the ball, and knows when to go for those, and timing. I think she did a really good job of acclimating herself to the footing, and the weather, and being ready for the ball to drop.”

As has been the case all season, fouls did not go the Minutewomen’s way, but McMahon, unlike in recent games, wasn’t overly concerned with the statistic.

“Today it was just a wash,” said McMahon. “I mean with the weather, it was just getting your footing. Obviously we should have adjusted a little better once the game gets going, and slow our feet down a little bit, as opposed to running at their girls.”

“[Overall] I thought we really dictated the tempo of the game, and I’m really proud of our girls for that,” McMahon added.

Up next for the Minutewomen is Sacred Heart for the final game of their five-game season-opening home-stand. Following the two recent snowy affairs, the matchup with the Pioneers (0-1) is predicted to have much more comfortable conditions.

Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at jokerman@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman.

 

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