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May 4, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse is riding the hot stick of Hannah Burnett

Katherine Mayo/Collegian

It’s been goals, goals and even more goals for Massachusetts women’s lacrosse attacker Hannah Burnett lately. The redshirt junior has amassed markers in four straight games for UMass—all wins—and currently leads the Minutewomen in goals with 18 on the year.

The recently named Atlantic 10 Player of the Week started the masterful run with a four-goal performance March 5 against Connecticut, in a nail-biting 10-9 overtime win for UMass. Burnett followed that up with a five-goal onslaught, a season best, in the Minutewomen’s 13-4 blowout of New Hampshire. Then Burnett recorded another four-goal game against Harvard and added two tallies in UMass’ most recent victory over Marist last Saturday.

Since Burnett has found her scoring touch in the last month, the Minutewomen have gone undefeated in four contests and have outscored their opponents by a 49-29 margin.

“I’ve been able to get open and get feeds from my teammates,” Burnett said about her recent offensive emergence. “Holly [Turner] has been doing a great job of getting me the ball, [Kaitlyn] Cerasi and Callie [Santos], too. It’s just been flowing. Our offense has been flowing really well.”

I think she’s just playing really confidently right now and she’s really connecting with her teammates,” UMass coach Angela McMahon added. “She is definitely a spark for us in a lot of our games and she’s an amazing finisher. For her we’re trying to play up tempo, she’s always making the right cut at the right time and her teammates are looking for her. I think it’s partly what she’s doing and then it’s also players looking for her to get her the ball.”

Through eight games this season, Burnett has managed 18 goals and 20 points which is nearly half of the goals (33) and points (43) she registered in 2016 in 21 games.

“This has been a first for me,” Burnett said when asked if she’s ever been on this type of offensive run in the past. “It’s exciting but as long as we’re winning that’s all I really care about.”

Burnett did have a bit of a slow start to the 2017 campaign, only mustering three goals, all coming in an 11-7 loss to Colorado Feb. 17, in UMass’ opening four games, but McMahon had full confidence she would rebound strong.

“Honestly, yes I was because that’s how she finished last season,” McMahon said. “She was out for a little bit in the fall with an injury, so she missed some time, but now I think at this point because we have a couple of games under our belt, she’s built up some momentum that she missed in the fall. She’s really fit, is working really hard and definitely provides something for our team that is a needed role, in terms of what she’s doing. She’s doing a great job.”

With Burnett leading the charge offensively for the Minutewomen at this point, McMahon hopes others will follow to round out an already deep offensive squad moving forward.

“Our goal though is to get as many people involved in the offense as possible,” McMahon said. “Again, somebody has to be getting her the ball. She’s creating her shots by off-ball movement and somebody needs to get her the ball so I think it’s a lot of people that are all working together. That’s the most important thing because the more threats we have on offense the better our team is going to be. I think offensive depth is going to be really critical.”

“Going into A-10s is kind of a crucial time for us because starting conference play, it’s important we string some wins together,” Burnett said. “As long as we can keep on the run that we’ve been doing I think the sky is the limit for this team.”

Burnett will look to keep her dominant play going into UMass’ next game against Virginia Commonwealth this Thursday at 5 p.m.

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

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