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Strong senior class expected to lead UMass women’s lacrosse in 2014

Cade Belisle/Collegian

Cade Belisle/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team had its best season in nearly 20 years in 2013, and will have most of its core back in the lineup for one last season.

The Minutewomen have eight seniors on their 2014 roster, and will rely on those veterans to once again be their top performers.

Among those seniors are players like Sam Rush, who led the team last year with 65 goals, Kelsey McGovern, a key part of the team’s defense and the primary draw specialist, and Katie Ferris, who led the team in points last year with 75 and holds the team’s all-time record for points with 245 through her first three years.

“This senior class has sort of been the backbone of our team for a while now,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said. “The experience and passion for the game that they bring to the team each and every day just makes my job so much easier.”

Ferris said she and the other seniors are extra motivated to go further than ever this season, as it will be their last with the Minutewomen. This is the arguably the perfect team to make a memorable run, she said.

“I feel like we do have the team that can go the distance,” she said. “We’ve really been focusing on all the little things we need to do, what we need to do to get better and how we can teach the younger girls.”

However, with the team set to lose a number of key players at the end of the season, a group that accounted for 162 of the team’s 310 goals last year, could this be UMass’ last best chance at a national championship? McMahon doesn’t think so.

“We don’t really think that far ahead,” she said. “At this point, we’re just focused right now on Vanderbilt, who’s our first opponent.”

With 20 underclassmen on the roster, including nine incoming freshmen, McMahon expects contributions from more than just her veteran players.

“I think we’re definitely going to have some younger players stepping up,” she said. “We have some sophomores that were starting to get some good quality minutes last year, and I think that has carried over to this season in terms of their confidence level and feeling comfortable on the field with the older girls.”

Ferris also believes that the current underclassmen will do fine taking over for her and her fellow seniors after they graduate at the end of the season.

“I think they’ll do great still,” she said. “I know I’ve put a lot of my time into helping them out and teaching them and showing them what it takes.”

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at jmayfiel@umass.edu and can be followed on Twitter @jgms88.

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