Jackie Lyons’ five goals lifts UMass past Temple

By Herb Scribner

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Jackie Lyons changed the game.

The junior midfielder led the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team to a 16-7 victory over Atlantic 10 rival Temple on Saturday with five goals and an assist.

“Jackie’s been doing a good job of reading what the defense [has been] giving her,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said. “They weren’t plotting as much as teams in the past, and she did a good job of screening them. She put the shots away.”

Lyons started off the game between the Minutewomen (6-6, 3-0 A-10) and the Owls (4-6, 1-2 A-10) quickly, finding her way to the back of the net within two minutes of the opening whistle.

The goal by Lyons was followed by a score from attacker Stephanie Hopkins at the 26:48 mark, giving UMass a comfortable opening lead over Temple.

“We came out with a great start to the game. We had a couple quick goals and a couple quick defensive stops,” Venechanos said.

The fouls in the opening five minutes produced trouble for the Maroon and White, as it led to Owls midfielder Chelsea Rosiek’s score nearly 30 seconds after UMass’ second goal. The goal by Temple seemed to fuel the Minutewomen, as they opened up on a four-goal run over the Owls.

While defender Riley Perry and midfielders Jesse O’Donnell and Merritt Cosgrove all notched scores in the run, Lyons once again made a difference with a shot that capped off the run. Similar to four of the five goals by Lyons, her second score was done without assistance.

Lyons proved to be in the mix of things throughout the entire match. After a score by Owls midfielder Charlotte Swavola, followed by another opportunity to finish out the half, Lyons and midfielder Danielle Pelletier sent in a pair of shots to give UMass a commanding 8-3 lead going into the break.

Lyons did not back down in the second half, pursuing the back of net in the early moments of the second period. After a failed opportunity at the net by Lyons, O’Donnell picked up the pace and scored less than a minute later.

The next seven minutes of play showed an absence from Lyons, as the Owls came blazing through the half. Temple went on a three-goal run, with scores added by midfielders Melissa Schweitzer, Stephanie Markunas and Swavola.

With the score 9-6, and UMass’ lead deteriorating, Lyons came back strong into the match as she notched her fourth goal of the contest.

The score by the junior sparked the Minutewomen offense, as it was the opening goal of another four-goal run. After goals by O’Donnell and attacker Nina Sarcona, Lyons finished off the run with her final score of the game.

Once the Owls notched their seventh goal off of attacker Lindsey Colferai’s free-position shot, Lyons continued to contribute on offense, as she assisted the ball to midfielder Danielle Pelletier who put in her 12th goal of the year.

UMass closed out the game with two more scores, with midfielder Jordan Renna earning her first goal of the season and Cosgrove adding another.

Lyons was 5-for-7 with her shots, six of which were on goal. She earned four draw controls, and improved her goals average to just fewer than two per game. Five goals separate Lyons and O’Donnell as the top scorer on the team.

“She did a great job reading the defense and picking it up and putting some shots away,” Venechanos said.

With Lyons’ performance, the Minutewomen showed an impressive display of talent. The UMass side was one clear away from perfection (13-for-14), and missed on one free-position shot of the two they took. The Minutewomen also narrowly defeated Temple in the draw control category by a 15-10 margin.

“I felt really proud of them,” Venechanos said.

Lyons and the Minutewomen head to Pittsburg, Pa. to take on Duquesne next Friday. The game against the Dukes (6-7, 2-2 A-10) is the final contest of a five-game road trip for UMass.

Herb Scribner can be reached at [email protected]