Following three straight losses on its home turf, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team looks to finish off its five-game home stretch with a positive result against Yale today.
“We’re looking to restart our season tomorrow,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said.
After an 11-8 loss to No. 19 New Hampshire, the Mintewomen (2-4) had five days to reshape their squad and get in line before a long break on the road.
“We’re excited to have the week to prepare for this,” Venechanos said. “Last time we had a week to prepare was between our first and second games, so we’re definitely taking advantage of that. We tweaked a couple of things on attack, and changed some things on defense that will play more into our strengths.”
The last time the Minutewomen competed against the Bulldogs (1-2) was one day short of a year ago today, where UMass fell 7-4 in New Haven.
“It was tough, I mean we couldn’t score,” Venechanos said. “Yale is known to have a tough defense, and they have a tough goalie. We know that in order to be in this game we’ll have to put some goals away. Our attack knows that they have to step up.”
After the Bulldogs started the first 11 minutes of game time with a 3-0 lead, the Minutewomen struck back with a goal of their own, which was the only goal by UMass in the first half of play.
Senior Holly Drown got things moving for the Minutewomen with a score with nearly nine minutes left to play. Under five minutes later, junior Logan Greer struck a goal right back to give the Bulldogs a 4-1 lead going into the break.
Yale went on a three-goal run as Greer finished with her second goal of the game. UMass had resilience, with goals by sophomore Colleen Mulligan, Stephanie Hopkins and senior Meghan Reddy coming in.
The goals by the trio of returning players was not enough to get the Minutewomen the victory, as Yale goalkeeper Whitney Quackenbush made a trio of saves in the final six minutes. Quackenbush, who also returns for todays match up, had 14 total saves in last year’s game.
“Their goalie plays a big role into their success,” Venechanos said.
A key match-up in this afternoon’s affair comes from the sophomore goalkeepers Quackenbush and Katie Florence. Both Florence and Quackenbush started for their respective squads as freshman, and both are returning to stand behind the net. This season, Florence has out-saved Quackenbush 46-36.
“[Florence] is obviously our captain for us and a leader for us,” Venechanos said. “Both teams are going to be rallying around their goalies, but I think that’s very standard in our game versus another game.”
Despite the loss last season, the Minutewomen defense was the best of the year, as it kept its opponent to seven goals, which was the season low for the Maroon and White.
Coincidentally, the Minutewomen had a 2-4 record after its game against the Bulldogs. UMass went on to capture the Atlantic 10 regular season title.
The series between Yale and UMass dates back to 1979, where the Minutewomen escaped with the victory. Yale now leads the series, 12-8, with the last UMass victory coming back in 1998.
Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]