Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse’s record-setting pace a byproduct of comradery

(Caroline O’Connor/Collegian)

New all-time records just keep coming for Massachusetts women’s lacrosse.

Last Thursday, the Minutewomen scored 25 goals in a victory over La Salle University, the most goals ever in a UMass lacrosse game. That mark broke the record of 24 set against St. Joseph’s just 11 days prior.

With a 19-5 win at St. Bonaventure over the weekend, the Minutewomen (11-3, 6-0 Atlantic 10) extended their conference winning streak to 51 games, an NCAA record that is practically untouchable. Several players have recorded career-bests or school records this season, such as Kiley Anderson’s career-high five goals last week, or Hannah Burnett’s UMass-record eight goals and 10 points against St. Joseph’s.

After starting the season 1-3, the Minutewomen have won their last 10 games and their last three by a combined margin of 35 goals. To say UMass coach Angela McMahon’s team has found its stride would be a gross understatement.

“I just think we’re connecting a lot better,” McMahon said. “We’re moving the ball better and everyone is getting involved in terms of being a threat, so I think we’re just coming together. It took us a little while, but we’re slowly building confidence and just having all these different individuals step up and perform is definitely going to help us in the long run.”

At the season’s outset, the usual sense of comfort and confidence that surrounds Minutewomen lacrosse was absent. The team, after graduating key players like Erika Eipp and the Farnham sisters, got off to a bad start against tough opponents. The only positive that came out of the season’s first month was an ugly 14-13 victory over Jacksonville University.

But on March 5, a month into the season, things changed. A hard-fought battle and sudden-death overtime victory against visiting University of Connecticut united UMass and sparked a momentum swing that now finds the Minutewomen atop the A-10 conference once again.

“I thought beating UConn was huge for us,” McMahon said. “Obviously they’re a great team, and despite where we were at that point, we were confident that we could compete with them if we just played our game.”

The Minutewomen’s play has been nothing short of dominant over their six-week undefeated stretch. Attackers are setting screens throughout the 12-meter fan, scrambling defenders and freeing up shooters with open scoring lanes. Ball movement has been strongly encouraged and emphasized in practice by McMahon and has been key to the winning streak; UMass has recorded double-digit assists in each of its last six games and average just under nine per game as a team.

McMahon’s teams have always been known for offensive firepower, which is why the equally strong play of the Minutewomen defense and goalies this season is so impressive.

Despite the graduation of several starting defenders from 2016, UMass ranks first in the conference in caused turnovers per game, with 11.85. Veterans such as Sarah Crowley and Allison Ryan have lead a very aggressive Minutewomen defense that prides itself on forcing opponents to make mistakes.

Freshman goalie Lauren Hiller has started 14 games and played less than 45 minutes in a game just twice all season. She averages 8.54 saves per game, and her .460 save percentage ranks fourth among A-10 starting goalies. Sophomore Sam Walters and junior Aileen Kelly complete a net-minding trio that has the trust of the entire team.

“Lauren has been great for us, but our other two goalies, Sam [Walters] and Aileen Kelly, have been good in their individual roles also,” McMahon said. “Everyone practices hard and does what we ask them to do during games, which is why we’ve been able to have the success that we’ve had.”

Just three games separate the Minutewomen from the playoffs with opponents Duquesne and George Washington, at a combined 4-23. However, George Mason is just a game away from clenching first place at 10-4. That contest will be a major indicator of UMass’ momentum heading into the A-10 tournament and beyond.

Henry Brechter can be reached at hbrechter@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @HBrechter.

Leave A Comment