No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond

By Anthony Chiusano

Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian
Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian

Since Atlantic 10 play began on April 4, the No. 11 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has outscored its five conference opponents by a combined total of 79-20, putting the Minutewomen in a favorable position to capture their sixth straight A-10 title.

However, on Saturday UMass will travel to Richmond for its toughest conference game of the season so far.

Winners of their last five games, the Spiders (9-4, 4-0 A-10) will enter Saturday’s matchup as the only other undefeated team in conference play alongside the Minutewomen (13-1, 4-0 A-10).

“We’re definitely really excited to have some tougher competition, because we’ve been waiting for that,” Ferris said. “Richmond is a huge rival so we’re definitely getting pumped for it and trying to stay really competitive in practice to get ready for the game.”

UMass coach Angela McMahon noted that despite the Minutewomen’s recent success, they cannot overlook the Spiders based on the intensity of the teams’ previous two head-to-head matchups. Both games ended in overtime wins for UMass, including a 12-11 double overtime victory last season.

“They’re tough and gritty and we know that we have a target on our backs as usual,” McMahon said. “Playing down there at Richmond, we’re definitely going to have to bring it and have our best game of the year.”

McMahon said that the Spiders’ high-tempo offense does a good job of ceasing momentum which may lead to a game of runs in Saturday’s matchup between two high scoring teams.

“Any time you’re able to go up, even if it’s only by one goal or two goals, the ball is in your hands in terms of being able to control the pace of the game,” McMahon said.

McMahon added that the presence of new threats for the Minutewomen on offense may be the deciding factor in which team can establish this momentum. In particular, she pointed out the recent play of seniors Melissa Carelli and Courtney McGrath, and junior Amy Tiernan.

Carelli ranks fourth in scoring for UMass with 21 goals for the season while McGrath is coming off of a three-goal performance on Sunday against George Mason. Tiernan has seen extended minutes off the bench and has contributed three goals in the past two games.

“We just need a lot of different people stepping up,” McMahon said. “That’s how we’ve been successful the past few years, by having multiple threats all the time so you can’t just shut one person down.”

In addition, senior defender Kelsey McGovern said that winning the draw control battle will increase scoring opportunities and help dictate the pace on Saturday.

“We’ve really been focusing on that and getting back to trying to be dominant in that aspect of our game,” McGovern said. “Because that’s something we really pride ourselves in.”

Ferris added that the continuation of the Minutewomen’s recent defensive success will be crucial. On Sunday, UMass held the Patriots to a season-best two goals in its 22-2 victory.

“Just by looking at the stats, we both have pretty good offensive teams,” Ferris said. “So it’s just going to be a matter of which defense makes more stops.”

McGovern added that communication will help in limiting Richmond’s potent offense, which boasts four players with at least twenty goals. She said that understanding each other’s roles and whereabouts will allow the defensive unit to continue to be aggressive and take risks.

Saturday’s game is set to start at 4:30 p.m.

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