Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Minutewomen edge UConn in double overtime, 7-6

By Nicholas Casale

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(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

(Christina Yacono/Daily Collegian)

In the midst of one of the coldest and snowiest winters in recent memory, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team had to brave the elements for a little longer than they expected Wednesday afternoon.

The Minutewomen needed two overtimes to defeat Connecticut 7-6 Wednesday at McGuirk Stadium.

With five minutes left on the clock in double overtime and the score tied, 6-6, the Minutewomen (2-0) were awarded with a free position shot from the left side of the box. Freshmen attacker Holly Turner faked high, shot low and buried the ball into the net for the win in what was a closely contested contest.

Turner, who has scored two goals on the season, reflected on the final moments of the game.

“When I stepped up to take the shot, I tried not to think about it and just focus on myself,” she said. “I knew I wanted to win the game for the team and we had been practicing shooting all week in practice so that really helped. When I scored and everyone jumped on me I could barely breathe. It was just insane.”

UMass coach Angela McMahon praised the freshmen attacker after the game.

“Holly was outstanding in practice all week and we wanted to give her more minutes today because of that,” she said. “Even though she’s a freshman, she did a great job to stay composed and she was able to step up and score a big goal for us.”

The game ebbed and flowed from the get-go, as the teams traded off possession and swapped shots and fouls evenly. At halftime, though, the Minutewomen went into the locker room on top 4-3.

UConn (0-2) quickly tied the game once the second half started, but UMass fired back with goals from Hannah Murphy (three on the day, six for season) and Erika Eipp (two on the day, four this year), stretching the lead to 6-4. With 19 minutes left in regulation, the Huskies scored to bring the game within one, and then scored a late tying goal with just 2:32 left in the game.

Overtime ensued, and UConn looked more likely to score, especially when UMass went two men down and the team faced wave after wave of attack. But the Minutewomen, led by goalkeeper Rachel Vallarelli, refused to concede a game winner. The second period of overtime was played in a similar fashion, but UMass was able to capitalize on one of their few scoring chances, and Turner scored the winning goal.
McMahon praised the resilience and effort she saw in her team’s performance.

“The message before the game was to win at home, but to do that players need to step up and meet the challenge, which I felt like everyone did a great job with,” McMahon said. “I’m just so proud the team was able to come out with the win even with the odds stacked against us like they were.”

Although the game wasn’t perfect from the Minutewomen’s perspective in terms of accuracy and discipline, McMahon felt the win was a great learning opportunity to fix the things that need work.

“I felt like we dug ourselves into a hole at times by turning the ball over and committing fouls, which are all things we need to work on. We also didn’t get as many shots as I would have liked to see, but we were much more accurate than we were last week,” she said. “And like I said before, at the end of the day we needed our defense to come up with a play and they were there to back us up, and our offense scored a crucial goal when the opportunity presented itself.”

The Minutewomen will return to action this Saturday at 1 p.m. when they travel to New Hampshire for a matchup with the Wildcats.

Nicholas Casale can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @NicholasLCasale.

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