Scrolling Headlines:

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

UMass woman’s basketball ends FIU Holiday Classic with 65-47 loss to Drexel -

December 29, 2016

Defensive cohesiveness quietly yielding results for UMass women’s lacrosse

Currently on a three-game winning streak, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has used its defensive cohesiveness to quietly limit its opposition to less than 10 goals in three of four games this season.

Taylor Snow/Collegian

Though it graduated a core of defenders, highlighted by Riley Perry and Ali Houlis, who led the team in ground balls, UMass (3-1) returned a group that left room for new faces to emerge in leadership roles.

With more than one pair of shoes to fill – as the leader on draw controls, attacker Nina Sarcona, who also graduated – UMass coach Angela McMahon said her team’s defense has shown no drop-off, remaining consistent with the Minutewomen’s usual standards.

“I think our defense is doing a great job of really limiting opponents’ opportunities,” McMahon said. “From Northwestern, where they score 16 goals against us and we kind of well apart a little bit, I think that from that game on, our defense has completely come together and just done a really god job of limiting each team since then.”

McMahon also said her squad’s ability to force low-percentage shots has directly equated to a favorable scoring margin.

Junior defender Kelsey McGovern, who has emerged as the team’s top defensive force – leading UMass in ground balls (10), draw controls (27) and forced turnovers (five) – has not gone unnoticed by McMahon, who attributes recent success to McGovern’s grit.

“She had dominating days on the draw so that obviously is going to translate into us being able to score more,” McMahon said. “I think between her and also the people around her – because some of the draws she’s able to get to herself, some is trying to direct it towards the people that are around her – both ends of those things are happening pretty well right now.”

Despite McGovern’s standout play, McMahon maintains that not having a single go-to player, as well as believing that anybody can score at any time, has contributed to defenders playing as a unit.

Rush scores seven in two games

Reliable defense has also yielded offensive success for the Minutewomen, notably in the form of junior attack Sam Rush, who scored seven goals over the last two outings.

The West Babylon, N.Y., native, described by McMahon as a great finisher who has a knack for getting herself in a position to score goals, ranks second behind junior attacker Katie Ferris in points and goals with 11 each.

Rush and Ferris front an attack that has outscored its opposition 61-42 through four games.

Although UMass has built momentum, McMahon said the Minutewomen’s confidence has to remain constant, no matter the caliber of opposing teams.

“That’s the goal,” McMahon said. “That’s what we’re trying to stress and focus on. Sometimes there’s let downs, it happens, but we’re trying to have that be less and less during the duration of the game and have more time where we’re on and being consistent.”

Peter Cappiello can be reached at pcappiel@student.umass.edu and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.

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