The No. 16 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team is riding a six-game winning-streak into its second Atlantic 10 Conference game, a match against Richmond on Friday, and senior attack Lauren Terracciano isn’t surprised.
“I expected it, yeah,” Terracciano said. “We hold ourselves to a high standard and we work hard every day in practice so we can have results like this and be in a safe spot like this.”
Terraccino has 12 goals and three assists in UMass’ (9-2, 1-0 A-10) last four games, including an eight-point afternoon in the team’s conference opener against La Salle on Saturday.
Confessing that scoring isn’t an easy thing for her to do, Terracciano said her opportunities have come from the responsible Minutewomen defense, which leads to chances on the attack.
Posting her strongest statistics of the season with five and a half weeks until graduation, Terracciano is looking to leave her mark on the UMass program.
“When you come into your senior year, I feel like there’s always a thought of ‘this is my last go at it, I really want to give it all I have,’” Terracciano said. “But I wouldn’t say it’s pressure. I would say it’s just more excitement and a true desire to want to come out on top.”
UMass coach Angela McMahon said that the Garden City, N.Y., native is continuing momentum from a successful 2012 season, but the difference this year is a noticeable spike in confidence.
McMahon said that she couldn’t ask for much more from Terracciano, who has embraced her role as a leader who will do anything it takes to help the team win games.
“I think there’s a couple players that really look up to her,” McMahon said. “Freshman Eileen McDonald, who plays a similar style and spot on the field, I think Terracciano has been a great role model for her in working with her.”
McDonald, who is left-handed like Terracciano, has posted seven points this season and McMahon believes her development has streamlined thanks to her senior teammate.
She finds the training valuable because lefties provide different options to score on offense and stray from normal strategy.
With opponents putting a focus on scoring leaders like junior attacks Katie Ferris and Sam Rush, Terracciano finds herself as well as other offensive players with the ball on their sticks more often.
“I happen to love when they faceguard my teammates because they can set other people up,” Terracciano said. “And people who don’t normally step up, it gives them the opportunity to take a role they might not have done before and open up their game in a new way.”
UMass returns home for a three-game homestand to continue its crucial A-10 slate, which Terracciano sees as an opportunity to come up big in big games.
“There is definitely something that triggers in my mind,” Terracciano said. “Once we get into conference, it’s no fooling around. Every scoring opportunity really does count, whether it’s at the beginning of the game or at the end. It’s the little things that really matter and that’s what comes alive when we hit A-10s.”
McMahon said that similarly to the matchup against Albany, there is a built in rivalry with Richmond that developed from competitive games in recent history.
“There’s a certain buzz in the days leading up to playing Richmond,” McMahon said. “It’s just that fun kind of competitive game that you know is gonna be a battle. It’s great we have the opportunity.”
UMass is in search of a record-setting fifth consecutive A-10 title, but Terracciano said that the team’s focus is to head into the tournament one game at a time.
“Richmond’s a great team and they come out for us every year with more and more hatred towards us,” Terracciano said. “It’s just really important to outwork them in every aspect of the game. Our scorers and defense have to be on, everything matters and if we make mistakes, Richmond will capitalize.”
Peter Cappiello can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.