Freshman Hannah Murphy taking on more responsibilities for No. 10 UMass women’s lax
Late in the first half of the No. 10 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team’s game against Holy Cross last Wednesday, freshman Hannah Murphy lined up for a free position attempt following a foul against her in front of the Crusaders’ net. As play resumed, Murphy took four steps forward and fired a low shot beyond the goalkeeper’s reach and into the back of the net.
The goal was Murphy’s first of her three-game collegiate career as the Minutewomen (3-0) went on to win 12-6.
“I just really wanted to get it in,” Murphy said. “I was thinking positive and I didn’t really have any other thoughts.”
Along with her goal, Murphy finished last Wednesday’s game with a team-leading four draw controls, which earned her praise from UMass coach Angela McMahon.
“She was extremely confident and extremely poised on the field,” McMahon said. “Sometimes freshmen can play to not make a mistake, but (Murphy) was just being aggressive and was ready to step into her moment.”
McMahon said that her performance against Holy Cross will only lead to further success, which includes the Minutewomen’s next game against Boston University (0-2) this Wednesday at McGuirk Stadium.
In particular, McMahon said that Murphy will be a key part in winning the crucial draw control battle with the Terriers.
“(Murphy) has really bought into our whole draw control philosophy and work ethic,” McMahon said. “I think she’s perfect for that role.”
For the season, Murphy has registered five draw control wins, which is tied for the team lead along with seniors Kelsey McGovern and Kelsey Sheridan.
Murphy credits McGovern, who broke the UMass single-season record with 110 draw control wins last season, with helping her improve on faceoffs in recent weeks.
Murphy said that just by watching McGovern compete on faceoffs in practice has helped her hone her own skills in the area. In addition, McGovern personally works with Murphy twice a week in practice on draw controls, according to Murphy.
“To have two really strong players really push themselves and each other in practice, it really helps them to prepare for our opponents,” McMahon said.
McMahon added that Murphy’s success on faceoffs has also eased McGovern’s transition back to playing in regular-season games, as the senior defenseman is coming off an ACL surgery last summer.
Aside from draw controls, McMahon said that she is encouraging Murphy, along with the Minutewomen’s other underclassmen, to maintain a high level of confidence against BU and as the season progresses.
“We want her to continue to be really aggressive,” McMahon said. “Sometimes, I think our team and offense relies on our upperclassmen to be the ones to take it into goal, but now we want everyone to step up, with (Murphy) included.”
Murphy said that she acknowledged the importance of staying aggressive by comparing her college playing experience with her high school years.
“Everyone’s faster and a lot more aggressive, but the transition has been pretty easy with everyone, including my coaches and my teammates helping me out,” Murphy said. “I’m just hoping to work hard and take advantage of every opportunity that I have.”
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.