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February 21, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse heads to Florida in search of first win of 2017

Jessica Picard/Collegian

Nine days after losing its season opening game to No. 17 Boston College, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will have a chance at claiming its first victory of the year.

On Friday, UMass (0-1) will head down to the Sunshine State to take on Colorado for a 1 p.m. matinee in Deland, Florida.

The Minutewomen will be going up against a Buffaloes team that is in high spirits following their 11-10 overtime victory over Northwestern Feb. 12 in their first 2017 contest.

UMass coach Angela McMahon is looking forward to the trip down south but still recognizes the importance of this upcoming battle.

“It’s going to be a tough weekend for us,” McMahon said. “We’re taking it as a business trip. Obviously we’re going down to Florida, it is going to be a little bit warmer which is going to be nice, but we’re really just focusing on our opponent.”

In their first game against the Eagles, UMass was barraged in the draw-control department, only corralling eight total controls compared to 22 for BC. McMahon feels that aspect of the game will be critical against Colorado (1-0).

“Obviously we want to get off to a good start, but I think the more important factor is draw controls throughout the whole game,” McMahon said. “Not just the beginning, it has got be consistently for us. Having the ball, getting good possessions and making the most of our opportunities that we get [is key].”

Miranda Stinson had three goals and an assist for the Buffaloes in their win against the Wildcats and currently leads Colorado in points entering the matchup.

Minutewomen face Dolphins in NCAA tournament rematch

On Sunday, UMass will square-off against Jacksonville, another 1 p.m. start time, in the second game of their weekend set.

The Dolphins (0-1) come into this game following a heartbreaking 13-12 loss to Ohio State Feb. 12.

Senior Danielle Della Rocca is a player the Minutewomen will have to keep on high-alert, as she recorded a hat-trick in their previous game and is coming off a superb 2016 season in which she finished with 68 points.

“We’re pretty familiar with her,” McMahon said of Della Rocca. “She’s a great player, but they have a lot of great players. They’re pretty athletic, they’re dynamic, well balanced and attacked. She’s great and some of the other ones we’re keeping our eye on too.”

For UMass, Holly Turner will look to keep her game at a high-tempo after compiling five points (four goals, assist) against the Eagles and freshman goalkeeper Lauren Hiller will look to build upon her strong start in net as well.

“She’s been playing great,” McMahon said regarding Hiller. “She’s putting herself in a great position to help our team. We’re going to look to hopefully continue having her have some success. Right now it’s still open competition, but she did a great job in the last game and hopefully she can continue to step up for us.”

Above anything else, McMahon is looking for an improved squad that takes the field in these upcoming games down south.

“Improving from our last game has been a huge focus,” McMahon said. “Individual and team improvement is the main focus so just looking forward to playing together as a team, traveling together, continuing to work and develop our chemistry, and hopefully coming away performing better than the last time.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at rames@umass.edu or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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