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May 14, 2016

Sam Rush has record day in UMass women’s lacrosse’s win over UNH

Cade Belisle/Collegian File Photo

Cade Belisle/Collegian File Photo

Sam Rush has spent her entire career as an offensive force on the No. 10 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team.

On Saturday, the senior attacker cemented herself as one of the greatest scorers in program history.

Rush moved to fifth on UMass’ all-time scoring list with five goals to lead the Minutewomen to a 12-6 victory over New Hampshire at McGuirk Stadium. Her 128 career goals put her ahead of Jesse O’Donnell.

“She did a great job,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said. “She got a lot of looks in there and put a few away early that really helped us sort of dictate the tempo of the game a little bit and create separation in the first half.”

Despite the strong offensive putout, Rush was still disappointed that she only scored on half of her 10 shots in the game and felt the team could’ve converted on more than just a third of its 36 shots.

“As an attack unit, I think we played well. We just didn’t finish a lot of our shots,” Rush said. “I think the score could’ve been a lot higher.”

The Minutewomen (6-0) were slow offensively in the game’s first 10 minutes. Then Rush got two goals in two minutes to give UMass a quick lead, and scored two more later in the first half to give the team a 7-2 lead over the Wildcats (2-4) heading into halftime.

The Minutewomen got two goals each from Tanner Guarino and Rory Sadoff, and Erika Eipp added one goal and four assists.

UMass harassed UNH in its own end all game, holding the Wildcats to eight clears on 20 attempts and causing 18 turnovers, led by Amy Tiernan, who finished with five.

“I thought they did a great job. I mean, that’s our first line of defense, is our offense riding,” McMahon said. “That’s something that’s a huge focus point and something that’s sort of our go-to thing that we pride ourselves in because that requires just work and being aggressive.”

A number of the turnovers led to scoring opportunities. Rush, who got four of her five goals seconds after caused turnovers, said the team’s ability to cause turnovers in its opponent’s end was very effective in helping to set up scores.

“I thought we were able to generate a lot of turnovers in the midfield and on our attacking end,” she said. “So, me marking up the goalie on the ride, it helps me get ready for the shot in front of the net, and yeah, the teammate (that causes the turnover) really sets me up for shooting.”

One player who was absent from the Minutewomen starting lineup in the game was senior defender Kelsey Sheridan. Sheridan was out with an undisclosed injury, and sophomore Anne Farnham took her spot on the roster.

McMahon said Sheridan is fine and should return for the team’s next game against Colorado on Friday. McMahon also praised the defense for stepping up in her absence.

“Obviously, Kelsey is a huge presence for us out there on the field, and I think the four other defenders really stepped up so that we weren’t missing a beat really,” she said.

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

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