UMass women’s lacrosse welcomes Colorado on Friday

By Anthony Chiusano

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian
Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

When looking at the No. 9 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team’s national ranking and unblemished 6-0 record, one might think that the Minutewomen are rolling on all cylinders.

However, according to UMass coach Angela McMahon, her team still has multiple areas to improve on before it takes on Colorado (4-2) on Friday.

In particular, McMahon said that improving her team’s shooting percentage is a major point of emphasis heading into the matchup against the Buffaloes, who will come into Friday with a three-game winning streak.

In UMass’s 12-6 victory over New Hampshire on Saturday, the Minutewomen combined for 12 goals on 36 shots. McMahon said that this “glaring” statistic was not ideal and will not be acceptable as the season progresses.

“We need to make sure we’re taking our time and getting better angles on our shots,” McMahon said. “That should hopefully translate into us scoring more goals.”

According to McMahon, the team’s group of attackers, led by seniors Sam Rush (19 goals) and Katie Ferris (11 goals), will be a major factor in finding better shot efficiency on Friday.

“I think the next step for us, definitely as attackers, is making more of those shots,” Ferris said. “We’ve taken a lot of shots but now we need to get more (goals), so instead of beating a team by six, we can beat a team by 10.”

Against the Wildcats on Saturday, Rush scored five goals on 10 shots, which moved her into the top five all-time scorers in UMass history with 128 career goals.

“I really didn’t even know until after the game when someone told me. It doesn’t really mean too much to me,” Rush said. “It’s great to know that I’m contributing, but the biggest factor is that we’re winning. It really doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win.”

Despite the five-goal performance, Rush recognized McMahon’s worry over not capitalizing on more scoring opportunities. She said that shooting 50 percent was, “not something to be proud of.”

In addition, McMahon said that the Minutewomen must continue to limit their turnovers, especially of the unforced variety.

Against UNH, UMass committed 15 turnovers, which tied for the lowest amount given up this season by the team. However, McMahon added that the Wildcats’ goalkeeper made 16 saves which, “essentially serve as turnovers.”

“Considering how hard (UNH) pressured us, I think to have (the shooting effort) was alright,” McMahon said. “It’s more the focus of the ones that were unforced and how we kind of just made one or two careless passes here and there.”

According to Ferris, the turnover battle will be key against Colorado.

“The team with the fewest amount of turnovers is usually the one that comes out on top,” she said. “If we control all the little stuff, that’s what makes us successful.”

McMahon said that the Minutewomen’s defense must keep constant pressure on Colorado’s “balanced offense” which includes three double-figure goal scorers in Cali Castagnola (16 goals), Marie Moore (14 goals) and Johnna Fusco (11 goals).

Ferris said that she thinks the UMass defensive unit is up for the challenge.

“I think we have a greatly balanced defense as well,” Ferris said. “So I think they’ll do a great job on (Colorado).”

Friday’s game at McGuirk Stadium is set for 4 p.m.

Anthony Chiusano can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.