UMass women’s lacrosse defeats Iona behind explosive offense
Two minutes, 29 seconds into Saturday’s game between the No. 10 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team and Iona, Bernadette Gennaro scored the game’s first goal to give the Gaels an early 1-0 lead.
That was the only time Iona led in the contest, as twelve different scorers paced the Minutewomen to an eventual 19-6 victory.
The 19 goals scored by UMass (5-0) marked its largest scoring output of the season. Senior Sam Rush finished with four goals and two assists, sophomore Erika Eipp had three goals and one assist and senior Katie Ferris recorded two goals and two assists to lead the Minutewomen.
“We have a lot of people who can score, so it was great for everyone to contribute today,” Eipp said.
Eipp, a transfer from Louisville, now has seven goals in her past two games following a four-goal performance against Boston University on Wednesday. UMass coach Angela McMahon said that the difference in Eipp’s play has come from reaching a level of comfort within the offense.
“Coming in as a transfer to a new team, there can sometimes be a little bit of a transition in terms of figuring out your place on the team,” McMahon said. “But we’ve really been trying to encourage her to just be aggressive.
“That’s what we’ve been seeing of her,” McMahon added. “She’s stepping up and making the most of her opportunities out there.”
McMahon said that the key to UMass’s offensive success on Saturday stemmed from the success found on the draw control, where the Minutewomen held a 21-6 advantage over Iona.
Freshman Hannah Murphy finished with a team-high seven face-off wins, while seniors Kelsey McGovern and Kelsey Sheridan had six and three, respectively.
“They just dominated on the draw (control) and that directly correlated with us having the ball on the offensive end,” McMahon said. “That was probably the most dominant statistic of the whole game.”
The Minutewomen opened up 3-1 lead on consecutive goals by Tanner Guarino, Ferris and Sam Rush. Leading 5-3 with less than 18 minutes left in the half, UMass used a 6-0 run to open up an 11-3 lead. The Minutewomen led 12-4 at halftime.
Ferris and Rush started the half with consecutive goals to extend the lead to 10. Mary Kate McCormick put Iona back to within single digits with a goal, but UMass answered with a 5-0 to lead 19-5 with 5:58 to play.
On defense, the Minutewomen forced 24 turnovers and allowed the Gaels (0-3) to muster up just 11 shots on goal.
“I thought we did a good job of putting pressure on them to make them uncomfortable and force them to either rush decisions or take bad angles,” McMahon said. “I just think we did a good job again in executing our game plan and being aggressive.”
After a 2-0 road trip this past week, UMass returns home to McGuirk Stadium on Saturday for a 3 p.m. matchup against New Hampshire.
Ferris named to Tewaaraton Watch List
Ferris was named as an early candidate for the 2014 Tewaartaton Award, which recognizes the top men’s and women’s lacrosse players in the NCAA, on Thursday.
This is the second straight season that Ferris was named to the 50-person initial watch list for the national award.
Ferris is UMass’ all-time leading goal-scorer with 268 career tallies.
Through five games this season, Ferris has scored 11 goals and has a team-high 14 assists for UMass.
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusanoumass.edu and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.