Facing a New Hampshire squad led by Massachusetts women’s lacrosse (3-1) coach Angela McMahon’s former assistants, Sarah Albrecht and Eileen Finn, the No. 14 Minutewomen used a 10-goal second half to earn an 18-9 victory over UNH (0-2) on Saturday afternoon in Durham, N.H.
With the score even at four and just under five minutes left to play in the first half, redshirt sophomore attack Courtney McGrath put the Minutewomen up for good.
McMahon applauded her team’s effort and was especially pleased that 10 players contributed with either a goal or an assist.
“We played great,” McMahon said. “It was kind of back and forth in the beginning with two teams trading off goals, but I think we adjusted well throughout the game. We made a couple adjustments at halftime and I think we did much better shooting in the second half to put the game away.”
Junior attack Sam Rush led all scorers with four goals, while junior attack Katie Ferris, senior attack Cori Murray and junior midfielder Melissa Carelli each recorded a hat trick.
UMass added three more goals to close out the first half with an 8-4 lead.
Laura McHoul gave the Wildcats momentum momentarily with an unassisted goal 1:04 into the second half, but the Minutewomen responded with two three-goal and a four-goal scoring outburst.
Murray got on the board two minutes into the contest with an unassisted strike, which was answered by the Wildcats four minutes later on a free position shot by junior attack Jenny Simpson.
Three unanswered goals by UMass, including Rush’s first of the afternoon, followed Simpson’s score. UNH then evened the tilt with three goals of its own, two of which coming from free position opportunities.
However, the Minutewomen turned the ball over 16 times, which led McMahon to say that her team could be sharper.
“It was still pretty sloppy,” McMahon said. “We had the same amount of turnovers as last week, so it’s still something we’re gonna have to work on, but I would say that I think our shooting is improving. Our shooting was better today than it has been over the past few games so that’s something we got better on, but we’re still a little too careless with the ball.”
McMahon said Rush’s offensive contributions are highly valuable.
“She just gets herself into really good positions to score,” McMahon said. “She’s constantly keeping her defender busy and is a fantastic finisher when she’s in front of the net.”
McMahon said her team’s effort against the Wildcats was a result of self-motivation.
“We really don’t try to focus on other teams to be honest, we just wanted to play well for ourselves,” McMahon said. “Out of 60 minutes, I would say 45 of that, we played really well. Playing as a unit and getting everyone involved was our key focus.”
UMass now heads to Boston to face Boston University on Wednesday.
Peter Cappiello can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.