Minutewomen stay undefeated at home

By Andrew Cyr

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

Former Massachusetts women’s lacrosse star Katie Ferris has experienced her fair share of lopsided games at McGuirk Stadium throughout her career.

In her four seasons with the Minutewomen, the programs all-time leader in goals (211), assists (119) and points (330) went a combined 37-3 at McGuirk.

On a rainy Wednesday afternoon in Amherst, Ferris experienced her fourth ever loss at the stadium. This time, however, it came as a member of the visiting team.

UMass (11-1, 3-0 Atlantic 10) defeated Vermont 16-7 in Ferris’ return to Amherst, this time as an assistant coach on the Catamount staff.

“It was really fun,” head coach Angela McMahon said of the experience coaching against a former player. “It makes the game a little bit more special.”

“She meant so much to our program during the four years she was here, but it’s really great to see her give back to the sport.”

Hannah Murphy led the Minutewomen with four goals and two assists, and Amy Tiernan added three goals and two assists in the first half alone on her way a six point evening.

McMahon said Tiernan had been struggling recently and for her to get off to a hot start was great for her confidence, and allowed her to play more relaxed.

“My teammates set me up well and we had great movement on attack today,” Tiernan said. “Something clicked for me today I guess, I cleared my mind and was ready to play.”

Holding a 4-3 lead with five minutes, 45 seconds remaining in the first half, Nicole Troost beat Vermont goalkeeper Meg Hopkins to give the Minutewomen a two-goal cushion. Following the goal, the floodgates opened – UMass scored three more goals in the half, including two in the final minute from Tiernan and Murphy to give the Minutewomen an 8-3 lead into the locker room.

“I was very happy today. Our goal was to win the possession game and looking at that, we did just that,” McMahon said. “We forced them into a lot of turnovers and our goal was to get 35 shots today, and to see that got the exact number means we are closer to shooting 50 percent and those are the types of looks we want to get on cage.”

Entering the game the UMass defense knew it had its work cut out in dealing with the nation’s second-leading scorer Jessica Roach. Roach was held in check to a mere two points, both coming on assists, as defender Anne Farnham face-guarded her the entire length of the field for the entire game.

Picking up the slack on offense for Vermont was Vanessa VanderZalm, who finished with three goals, and Elena McWright, who added a pair of goals of her own. VanderZalm also had a fourth called back at the start of the second half due to an ineligible stick.

“Our execution (on Roach) was great. I thought we did a great job of forcing her into some tough situations. She had a shot toward the end of the second half but Rachel (Vallarelli) came up with a key stop. While Anne did a fantastic job defending her, our overall team defense did a great job to frustrate their attack,” McMahon said.

The closest the Catamounts (9-5) came to UMass in the second half was four goals on two separate occasions when Alex Bernier cut the deficit to 8-4 with 26:46 remaining in the game, and when VanderZalm made it a 9-5 game with 23:57 left.

Holly Turner recorded three goals and an assist while Eileen McDonald finished with two goals and an assist. Erika Eipp also scored one goal in the victory.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected], and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.