Minutewomen facing stiffer competition

By Melissa Turtinen, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has been struggling getting wins on the board. After the Atlantic 10 opening weekend the Minutewomen are 3-8 overall, 1-1 in their conference.

Last season after playing 10 games the Minutewomen sat at 5-5. They ended their season 8-9 overall, 3-4 in the A-10. UMass coach Alexis Venechanos explained that even though their record was better last year, the Minutewomen are playing better this year.

UMass started their season with a very competitive schedule, one of the toughest in the nation. In the first nine games of their season, six of the teams were ranked in the Top-20.

In the last four games the Minutewomen have been improving and starting to play their game. Venechanos said that they have been trying to get better on attack, midfield and defense to play the entire game as a team instead of having glimpses of brilliance.

“[We’re working to] improve our defense and get them on the same page. We have been moving them around on attack and defense,” Venechanos said. “We haven’t reached our full potential yet, we have at least five games left and we’ll peak in a couple weeks [which is good].”

Getting quality shots

The Minutewomen have had trouble keeping up with their opponents in the amount of shots they are taking. As of March 30 the Minutewomen have had 250 shots, only 172 on goal, while their opponents have 313 shots, 230 of them were on goal. UMass is averaging 22.7 shots a game, where their opponents are at 28.5.

The lack of opportunities is affecting the overall score of the game. UMass only has 87 goals on the season, but they have been scored on 136 times. Although, the low number of shots on goal has allowed them a high shots on goal/ scoring percentage of 88.8 percent, while their opponents are at 73.5 percent.

“[We’re trying to improve] our shot selection and being better shooters. The games that we were able to do well in we were 30 to 40 percent,” Venechanos said. “The combination is taking the right shots at the right time. We continue to work on that.”

Typadis is a threat

Senior Kathleen Typadis was the leading scorer in the 2007 season with 52 goals and 8 assists for a total of 60 points. This season she has been gaining points slowly, but in the last four games she has been getting back on track scoring 11 goals. Total this season she has 15 goals and one assist.

At the beginning of the season Typadis was being guarded by opponents because they know her strength is scoring. That allowed other players, such as junior Kaytlin McCormick and senior Melynda Zwick to be open for more scoring opportunities.

McCormick is the leading scorer for the Minutewomen with 23 goals and 6 assists. Zwick is ranked second in points, third in goals with 9 goals and 9 assists. Typadis is second in goals and third in points.

As the season progressed attention moved to McCormick and Zwick and opened up Typadis for more goals, Venechanos said.

“[Typadis, McCormick and Zwick] have been making a more deadly attack and more threats open things up for everyone else,” Venechanos said.

Schreiner successful with draw controls

Freshman Kelsey Schreiner has been successful with draw controls in recent weeks. To date she has 19 draw controls, two goals and two assists for a total of four points. She has the second highest number of controls behind senior Jeannette Villapiano.

“Schreiner has been doing a good job putting our team in position when we get the ball. She is smart, has quick hands and a strong presence in there. She has consistency, she is a selfless player and does what the team needs,” Venechanos said.

Overall, UMass has a higher number of draw controls during the game than its opponents. They have 132 as opposed to the other teams 114. Holding the advantage in draw controls is very beneficial for the Minutewomen because it means getting extra possessions.

“Having more possessions on attack definitely helps us out,” Venechanos said.

Earlier in the season the Minutewomen would get the ball and struggle bringing it to the attack end successfully. Venechanos said it starts with the draw. If UMass spends less time trying to get the ball off of the draw they will have more time and a better chance moving it to the offensive zone and getting more goals.

Free position shots expected to help get wins

In the last few games UMass has done well with their free position shots. In the past they were scoring on around 10 percent of the shots, where recently they have been making close to 50 percent of the shots, Sinnett said. Currently their free position goal percentage is 33 percent.

Doing well on the free position shots helps create scoring chances and goals.

“We do play aggressive on attack and initiate things in there,” Venechanos said. “You get your chance for eight meters (free position shots) and it gives scoring chances. Now we’ve been able to convert on them. It can be the deciding factor [in a game].”

The Minutewomen have also been doing well against the free position shots in their defensive end, defenders are getting their stick on the ball and freshman goal keeper Colleen Speth is doing well stopping them, she said.

UMass takes the field next on Sunday against Temple for their third A-10 game of the season.

Melissa Turtinen can be reached at [email protected]