No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse motivated by its recent loss to No. 7 Northwestern

By Jesse Mayfield Sheehan

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Senior Defender Kelsey McGovern defends against Northwestern attack Alyssa Leonard in UMass's 10-6 loss to the No. 7 Wildcats last Tuesday (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Senior Defender Kelsey McGovern defends against Northwestern attack Alyssa Leonard in UMass’s 10-6 loss to the No. 7 Wildcats last Tuesday (Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

This is especially the case when a team is not used to losing like the No. 11 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team, which suffered its first loss of the season to Northwestern last Tuesday.

However, when a team plays well against a very tough opponent, as was the case for the Minutewomen in their 10-6 loss to the No. 7 Wildcats, it can take some positives out of the disappointment as well.

“I think it’s definitely been positive,” senior defender Kelsey McGovern said. “Yes, it was our first loss, but we’re using it as something to give us momentum and push forward off of into our conference play.”

However, at the end of the day, a loss is still a loss.

“I just think it’s been upsetting because we had our hopes up,” senior attacker Katie Ferris said. “We were really excited for that game. It didn’t turn out in our favor, but we missed an opportunity that we could have really taken with that game.”

According to UMass coach Angela McMahon, the team is feeling a mix of positive and negative reactions following the loss.

“It’s unfortunate that we sort of let an opportunity pass us by, but we also do recognize and celebrate the things that we did do well in that game and hopefully look to do a lot more of it, but also rebound from the areas that we really didn’t play that great in,” she said.

With the Minutewomen set to have their first Atlantic 10 game of the season against La Salle on Friday, McGovern said the team has been using the loss as a means of improving.

“It definitely has translated into more of a motivation to get better and more of a motivation to make sure that we’re firing on all cylinders in each and every game that’s coming up,” she said.

In the past three seasons, since McMahon, Ferris and McGovern came to UMass, the Minutewomen have not lost a single A-10 game, going a collective 21-0 in regular season conference play and winning the conference championship all three years.

Ferris said there is a certain amount of pressure that comes with being the team to beat in the conference.

“It certainly puts a huge target on our back,” she said. “Every team we play, you can tell that we’re the team they want to beat so bad, so they come out times 10 with all their energy.

“We don’t want to be the senior class that gives up that first A-10 loss. I want to go all four years and not lose an A-10 game.”

However, McGovern said she’s not particularly worried about the pressure of past success.

“At this point, every season’s a new season, and what was in the past was in the past, and that’s something that doesn’t define what team we are today in 2014,” she said. “We’re just looking forward to taking it one game at a time and hopefully see how that goes and make it to the tournament.”

Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at [email protected] and can be followed on Twitter @jgms88.