UMass looks for 4-0 start against UNH

By Cameron McDonough

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team tries to improve to 4-0 on the season this afternoon against New Hampshire.

The game, originally scheduled for a 3 p.m. start, has been bumped up to a 12:30 p.m. starting time at McGuirk Stadium. The time change is in anticipation of inclement weather for the Pioneer Valley later on today.

The Minutewomen are coming off a dominating win over Marist, 20-7, on Saturday. Nine different players scored goals for UMass, including a big five-goal output from Lauren Terracciano and a four-goal performance from Sam Rush. Terracciano also added two assists en route to her impressive seven-point game.

The play of Rush and Terracciano was especially big in the contest because sophomore standout Katie Ferris went scoreless in the game after racking up 11 goals in the first two games.

A well-balanced attack was a welcomed sight for UMass coach Angela McMahon.

“That’s a goal for us on attack, to have everyone be a threat and anyone that’s on the field in that attacking zone needs to be a threat because when we play NCAA tournament teams, we’re going to have to beat them as a team because it’s very easy to shut one player down,” said McMahon.

The Minutewomen look to continue their balanced attack when it takes on UNH.

The Wildcats are coming off a tough 13-7 loss at the hands of Dartmouth in their season opener on Saturday.

Last year’s leading point scorer for UNH, Kate Keagins, got off to a strong start in the Wildcats first game. She played an all-around productive game in the loss, scoring two goals, picking up three ground balls and winning five draw controls.

New Hampshire also received a surprise contribution from Meghan Bridges, who scored two goals in the contest after netting only four all of last season.

In total, the Wildcats return four of their five top point getters from last season, which will pose a challenge for UMass’ goalkeeper Katie Florence.

Florence has been relatively untested in the early going this season. In fact, she only played the first half of Saturday’s blowout win over Marist.

Florence has only faced 50 shots and given up 22 goals for an 8.8 goals per game average. Her save percentage is .353, recording 12 saves so far on the young season.

UNH only registered 16 shots in its opening loss despite its potent offense that returned this season.

UMass on the other hand has been dominating its opponents when it comes to shots per game, averaging a staggering 35. Saturday’s win was a mild one for the Minutewomen in terms of shots on goal, only firing 33 shots, two below their season average.

However, a troubling stat for UMass on Saturday was the return of its foul trouble.

In the Minutewomen’s opener, they committed a whopping 21 fouls, including eight free-position opportunities for Holy Cross on which it scored four times.

UMass was able to correct this problem momentarily against Boston University, only committing eight fouls in a much cleaner all-around performance.

The Minutewomen got back into foul trouble against Marist, surpassing its foul total against the Crusaders with 24. The positive out of this was only three of those fouls were free-position opportunities for the Red Foxes, who converted on two of these.

The Wildcats only committed seven fouls in its loss to Dartmouth, so UMass will try to play a much more disciplined game against UNH today in order to keep down its foul totals.

“We need to clean it up,” said McMahon. “I just think we weren’t playing good defense. We weren’t moving our feet. We were trying to swing and go for the check and we can’t do that. So we have to make sure we are a little more patient and just play good body defense.”

Cameron McDonough can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_McDonough.