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UMass women’s lacrosse returns home to take on Connecticut Sunday

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

After 25 days away from the friendly confines of Garber Field, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team returns home this weekend, looking for its second win of the season.

UMass (1-3) welcomes Connecticut Sunday in another non-conference battle with its nearby resident from the Constitution State.

“[We’re] really excited to play them,” Minutewomen coach Angela McMahon said. “Being our neighbor state school rival, [we] have a lot of connections. I used to coach there, Kelsey McGovern was supposed to go there originally and a lot of these kids have old high school teammates [at UConn].”

“Most of our games have all been really close contests. We had an overtime game with them a couple of years ago,” McMahon added. “I think they’re really fired up and looking forward to playing a good opponent on Sunday.”

Last season, UMass beat UConn (2-2) 15-6 and that sparked the Minutewomen to a 16-game win streak that carried all the way to the NCAA Tournament.

The Huskies enter the matchup following a 13-9 win over New Hampshire Feb. 26 and are led by junior Grace Nolan (20 points) and senior Jacqueline Jordan (14 points).

“No, at the end of the day it’s still a non-conference game,” McMahon said when asked if Sunday is a must-win game. “We want to win, we want to compete. Most importantly, we want to improve from our last time out and make sure we’re doing everything in our control to play the best lacrosse we can. If we do that I’m confident that we’ll put ourselves in a good situation.”

Redshirt sophomore Kiley Anderson played the best game of her career with the Minutewomen this past Saturday, recording four goals. Her emergence as an impact player will be crucial for UMass the rest of the season.

“Having a 6-foot-3 target, not too many teams have that,” McMahon said of Anderson. “It’s not just her height. Her attitude, her ability to finish – she’s got great stick-work and I think she’s been steadily improving and really working hard. I’m glad to see her hard work is paying off with production.”

McMahon mentioned that ball security was a problem after Saturday’s game but feels that has improved in the week of practice since. She also noted the mental toughness of her team and how positive results will follow if that aspect is smoothed out.

The last outing at Garber for the Minutewomen was an 18-10 loss to then No. 17 Boston College, their first loss at home in three seasons, and this upcoming game against the Huskies will be a great opportunity for redemption for UMass.

“We always want to defend our home field,” McMahon said. “We love playing at home. We get good crowds especially with this now being a weekend game. Hopefully we’ll get a lot of fans coming out and supporting. We want to keep our home record as best as we can.”

The game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start Sunday.

Murphy Named for Tewaaraton Watch List

On Tuesday, senior Hannah Murphy was announced as one of the 50 players in the nation on the watch list for the Tewaaraton Award, the highest honor in college lacrosse.

This is Murphy’s first time being named to the watch list and joins former Minutewomen Erika Eipp (2016) and Kate Ferris (2013, 2014) as UMass members on the watch list.

The nominees will be trimmed down throughout the season and the five finalists will be announced May 11, with the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony June 1 in Washington, D.C.

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

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