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September 21, 2016

Without leading scorer, UMass women’s lax offense explodes in win

Stephen Sellner/Collegian

When Massachusetts women’s lacrosse junior attack Sam Rush put the No. 14 Minutewomen on the board first on Saturday, the floodgates were opened.

UMass had no problem taking care of Iona, using an offensive onslaught to power past the Gaels, 22-6, at McGuirk Stadium.

The Minutewomen (4-2) scored early and often, scoring the first three goals and 10 of the first 12 to seize control of the contest from the get-go.

UMass coach Angela McMahon was proud of her team’s efforts, saying they played a complete game, setting each other up for big plays.

“I thought it was a total team effort,” McMahon said. “Top to bottom, attack, middies, (defense), I thought we did a great job of moving the ball around (and) getting a lot of people involved in the scoring. Our passing was great and we played extremely unselfish.”

With 12 minutes, 22 seconds remaining in UMass’ 15-goal first half, Ellie Bullitt assisted on senior attack Cori Murray’s goal to chase Iona (1-2) goalie Maria Ortiz from net as sophomore Blaire Nathanson came into play to finish the game for the Gaels. Nathanson didn’t fare much better, however, giving up nine consecutive markers en route to the Minutewomen’s 22-goal output.

Senior attack Lauren Terracciano led UMass with a career-high eight-point performance, including five goals and three assists. After the game, Terracciano said that the team’s confidence and drive increased with each goal.

“You would think, maybe going into the second half, you might lose a little bit of focus,” Terracciano said. “You might start to play down to the other team’s sort of level, but we kept our mental focus and stayed in it like we did in the first half.”

Murray and Rush finished after Terracciano on the score sheet, each contributing a career-high six points with four goals and two assists.

Senior attack Kylie Gregory led Iona in scoring with three points on two goals and an assist, while Brittney Mabus ended the match with a goal and an assist.

McMahon said that every UMass play was equally as important, but the team emphasis is on grit more than goals.

“We try to focus on doing the dirty work and the little things,” McMahon said. “I think we did a much better job of having possession, working the ball around, being more patient and working for the best opportunity.”

The Minutewomen outshot the Gaels, 33-14, in the contest.

Terracciano said that although the shots taken could have been better, the unselfish play of the team was the biggest factor in the victory.

“All week we’ve really been focusing on playing together as a team and not being selfish,” Terracciano said. “Getting those assisted goals, playing for one another and not for yourself, I think that was evident today and turned out well.”

Next up for UMass is Albany on Friday at 4 p.m. in the second match of a three-game homestand.

McMahon said refining her team’s game by learning from past failures will be essential to securing a win.

“It wasn’t a perfect game,” McMahon said of Saturday’s victory. “We still had some turnovers and some lapses on both offense and defense, so it’s trying to fix some of those things, but also some of the things that have happened in our past couple games overall. We really have to be sharp and take care of the ball in order to be successful.”

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

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