Minutewomen clip American Eagles, still perfect

By Jeffrey Okerman

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian
Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

It was far from a clean effort for the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team, but in the end the No. 18 Minutewomen (7-0) took care of business and did away with the visiting American University team, 19-11.

Senior Nina Sarcona (three goals) was a member of the hat trick trio from UMass, along with Katie Ferris (three goals, one assist) and Sam Rush (three goals) off the bench. However, Sarcona truly shined in the center circle, as has come to be expected of her.

Thanks to Sarcona, the Minutewomen were in control of the draws from start to finish, winning 22 in all. The senior was credited with nine draw controls, moving her into first place all-time for UMass with 129, while passing Meg Reddy’s record of 124. UMass coach Angela McMahon was very pleased with her senior leader’s play.

“Nina has always been sort of our unsung hero,” said McMahon. “She puts us in a position where we can score and win. I attribute pretty much every win to Nina.”

The match was even early on, with Tanner Guarino (two goals, two assists) opening the scoring for UMass at 27:40. Bernadette Maher (five goals, one assist) would equalize for the Eagles (3-4) 20 seconds later on her way to a five goal display.

Goals by Cori Murray (two goals, one assist) and Sarcona were followed by Maher’s second goal to pull the game to 3-2. It was all Minutewomen from that point on in the first half.

Ferris scored eight seconds after the restart from Maher’s goal, and then scored again four minutes later. Danielle Pelletier (one goal) scored her second goal of the season and Jesse O’Donnell (two goals) also found the cage 22 seconds later to make it 7-2.

The theme of goals in quick succession continued with Sarcona adding her second 12 seconds ahead of Ferris completing her hat trick. Ferris’s third came 19 prior to O’Donnell’s second. It would be just over a minute before Rush scored after O’Donnell.

Sarcona’s hat trick goal started the ever-running clock, putting the Minutewomen up 12-2. Guarino added her second and then Lauren Terracciano (two goals, three assists) matched her teammate with two goals of her own. Murray completed her scoring day with 2:45 left in the half.

When Lauren Schoenberger scored her 10th goal of the season, with 21 seconds left before halftime, it ended a 22 minute, 21 second scoring drought for the Eagles, but the damage was done with the score 16-3 going into halftime.

“I thought we had a great first half,” said McMahon. “We put a lot of pressure on them, creating a lot of caused turnovers. Katie Florence played great, and overall it was a good half for us.”

The second half was a much different story, which McMahon was not at all pleased with. American outscored UMass 8-3 in the second period of play, starting the second half on a four goal run.

“We turned the ball over, didn’t stick to our game plan, didn’t step up on defense, didn’t put away our shots, our opportunities we had,” said McMahon.

Maher completed her hat trick after two minutes with her 10th goal of the season, before another Maher, Emily (one goal) this time, scored her ninth of the campaign.

Kimberly Collins (three goals, four assists), scored on her way to a hat trick, but was also a force in distribution, making a number of solid passes leading to goals in her team’s second-half effort.

Collins was the provider for the Eagle’s leading scorer, Emily Burton (one goal), making it 16-7 and stopping the running clock. Burton has 18 goals on the season, but was limited to just a single point by the strong UMass defense.

Rush found the cage for her second goal of the game, before Ali Houlis scored her first goal of the season to extend the lead to 18-7.

Rush would complete hat trick following Collins 15th goal of the season. The Minutewomen’s 19th goal would be lost between Collins’ strike and two more Maher goals.

It was too little, too late for the Eagles, though. Collins completed her own hat trick with just one minute, 25 seconds left on the clock.

Now the Minutewomen prepare for their road clash with the defending national champions, Northwestern, this weekend in Chicago.

Jeffrey Okerman can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Okerman.