September 2, 2014

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Seniors pave way for No. 10 UMass women’s lacrosse in rout of George Washington

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

Throughout the season, Massachusetts women’s lacrosse coach Angela McMahon has stressed the importance of a balanced contribution on offense and the development of younger players.

However, in Friday’s 20-6 victory over George Washington, it was the reliable corps of seniors led by Katie Ferris, Sam Rush and Tanner Guarino that propelled the No. 10 Minutewomen (12-1, 3-0 Atlantic 10) to their highest scoring output of the season.

The trio combined to score the first 10 UMass goals of the game to open up a 10-2 lead with nine minutes, 50 seconds left in the first half. The Minutewomen would never trail in the affair.

“I think they’re really on the same page with one another,” McMahon said of the seniors. “One thing that I thought they did a great job of was making all of their shots count.”

Following a goal by sophomore Rory Sadoff, Rush would then tally another score with 23 seconds left to send UMass into halftime with a 12-3 advantage.

Ferris finished with five goals and one assist, Rush had four goals and Guarino had three goals and two assists before all being rested midway through the second half along with the majority of other Minutewomen starters.

“I think we were all just fired up and ready to go,” Ferris said.

According to McMahon, the senior group paced “one of the better shooting days” that the team has had all season, as improving its shooting percentage has been UMass’s goal since conference play began.

“We don’t want to just shoot to shoot. We want to shoot to score,” Ferris said. “We just need to be taking the right shots.”

The Minutewomen’s offensive success continued in the second half with a 6-1 run in the final 17 minutes of play behind goals by Erika Eipp, Amy Tiernan, Ellie Bullitt and a pair from Eileen McDonald.

After the game, McMahon particularly took note of Tiernan’s offensive presence and said that it will be needed going forward.

“(Tiernan’s) just one of the people who really epitomizes doing all the dirty work and she takes a lot of pride in that,” McMahon said. “She had a great game because she was still causing turnovers and getting groundballs but then she was also able to help us offensively which is great.”

Ferris added that McDonald is “proving herself and really stepping up.”

“(McDonald has) definitely dug in,” Ferris said. “She has a 100 percent shooting percentage, which I think is awesome especially coming off the bench.”

McDonald now has six goals on six shot attempts for the season.

As for the Colonials (5-7, 1-2 A-10), who came into Friday’s matchup averaging over 12 goals per game —good for the third highest mark in the A-10 — their six-goal day stands as their lowest scoring performance of the season.

In particular, the Minutewomen contained junior attacker Jamie Bumgardner, who leads George Washington with 54 points for the season. Bumgardner was held to one goal on one shot on Friday.

“It was a total defensive effort but I thought that Kate and Anne Farnham really stepped up today to limit (Bumgardner),” McMahon said.

After traveling to the nation’s capital for their first road game in more than three weeks, UMass will return home to McGuirk Stadium for their next game on Sunday against George Mason.

The game, which will honor the Minutewomen’s seven seniors as part of their Senior Day celebration, is set to start at 1 p.m.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at achiusano@umass.edu and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.

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