Women’s Lax Dominates New Hampshire

By Jackson Alexander

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team entered Wednesday’s game against New Hampshire looking for its fifth-straight win. The Minutewomen achieved just that thanks to an efficient offensive attack and great goalkeeping.

Katie Ferris led the way offensively with three goals and an assist, while Nina Sarcona and Jackie Lyons each recorded hat tricks for UMass (5-0) en route to an 11-4 victory over the Wildcats (1-2).

Junior goalkeeper Katie Florence had her best outing of the season, stopping 15 shots and allowing just four goals.

“She was making some great stops. She was a huge star for us and definitely helped us transition up field to the other end,” coach Angela McMahon said. “I think we were able to build off of the key stops she made.”

While Florence flourished in the cage, she couldn’t have done it without her strong defense.

“We just wanted to try to limit some of their top players’ shots and really force them down into low angles,” McMahon said. “Everyone just shifted as a unit and backed each other up, and we were able to get some caused turnovers.”

The game started off slowly as both teams struggled to find the back of the net. Finally, nearly 12 minutes into the game, UMass went on a three-goal run in a five-minute span. Jackie Lyons got her team on the board, then Nina Sarcona and Ali Houlis fired in the second and third goals of the game to make the score 3-0.

New Hampshire finally got a shot through Florence with nine minutes and 15 seconds left in the half, but Lyons and Ferris responded with goals of their own to make it 5-1. A minute later, UNH’s Ilana Cohen scored the team’s second goal of the game. With ten seconds left in the half, Sarcona was awarded a free position and she converted it to put UMass up 6-2 at the half.

Both teams again started slowly in the second half, but eventually Ferris added two-straight goals and Lyons added another during a run that left UNH with a seven-goal deficit.

The Wildcats fought back as Ally Stager and Kate Keagins each scored to cut the lead back to five with just under nine minutes left. However, just when it looked like the Wildcats were creeping back into the game, Lyons delivered the dagger with her fourth goal of the game. Sarcona tacked on an insurance goal for the Minutewomen, finalizing the score, 11-4.

McMahon was impressed with her team’s balanced effort.

“We definitely had a solid team effort end-to-end, our goalie play was great, our defense made some huge stops, midfield did a great job and we transitioned in our attack all the way to the end,” McMahon said. “It was really just a complete team effort.”

As expected, UMass won the battle of the draw controls, 13-4, but the Minutewomen did not dominate every category. The Wildcats outshot UMass (21-19), collected more ground balls (15-7), and forced the Minutewomen into 26 turnovers.

The turnovers were a season-high for UMass and one of the only negatives in an otherwise positive game.

“It’s definitely going to be a huge focus for us over the next week and a half, because we really made some outstanding plays on defense, [but] to turn it over right away could have given UNH a window to get back into the game,” McMahon said.

The Minutewomen will return home after their three-game road stint and host Stony Brook at Garber Field 1 p.m. on Mar. 12.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at [email protected]