Terracciano, O’Donnell, Florence earn A-10 weekly honors

By Jay Asser

In earning wins against Holy Cross and Connecticut last week, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team received strong performances from three different areas of the field.

Freshman Lauren Terracciano and sophomores Jesse O’Donnell and Katie Florence led the Minutewomen to a 2-1 record with back-to-back victories after a loss to Northwestern to open the season.

For their performances, each earned weekly honors from the Atlantic 10, as announced on Monday. Terracciano was chosen as Rookie of the Week, O’Donnell was named Performer of the Week and Florence was selected as Defensive Player of the Week.

“It’s great for Lauren to come out the first couple games, get good looks and finish on them,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said. “Jesse has been great as well and has been a new threat for goals for us in the last year and has been improving everyday. Katie is our shield back there and I think she offers the defense a lot of support.”

Terracciano provided two goals in the win over Holy Cross and added five goals and two assists to beat UConn. Her performance against the Huskies was the best of any UMass player in the young season. Terracciano’s production from the attack also led all Minutewomen players with nine points in the pair of wins.

O’Donnell finished the week with eight total goals from the midfield, including a game-winner in the victory against UConn. Her career-high five goals gave UMass its first win of the season in its home opener and marked her first career hat trick and multi-goal game.

Florence has played in all but 11 minutes in goal this season after exiting the contest against the Crusaders with a minor injury. In the two wins this past week, Florence made seven saves and recorded a 7.19 goals against average. The games were the ninth and 10th time in her career where she allowed 10-or-fewer goals in a game.

The three players have given UMass strong production while only being in their first or second season with the Minutewomen.

“It’s really exciting,” Venechanos said. “We watched video from the fall and we’ve improved a lot. We still have to get used to each other and pick up each others tendencies, so we’re going to be a work in motion. I don’t think we’re going to meet our full potential till the end of the season.”

Venechanos recognizes that Terracciano and O’Donnell have added firepower to go along with junior Jackie Lyons, UMass’ leading scorer from 2009.

“It makes us really dynamic,” Venechanos said. “Other teams don’t know who to key in now. The more we can spread the ball around, the more it will open it up for everyday.”

Florence is continuing to build on her resume after a successful rookie season in which she posted a .462 save percentage while allowing 11.43 goals per game.

“She brings a lot of presence and a lot of poise,” Venechanos said. “She got a lot of shots in the first couple games and we’re now minimizing her shots. She’s making key saves for us and rather than quantity, she’s making quality saves. She gives our defense a little bit more risk to play with when she’s back in goal.”

All three players will be significant factors in UMass’ upcoming four-game home stint, beginning this afternoon against No. 10 Boston University.

Jay Asser can be reached at [email protected]