UMass women’s lacrosse’ defense, ball control key in win over New Hampshire

By Nick Souza

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(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team put on another display of dominance in its 16-4 victory over New Hampshire Saturday, although the score could have looked much worse if it wasn’t for some of the impressive saves by UNH goalkeeper Kate Clancy.

“I really give her a lot of credit, she made some great saves today against us,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said.

Clancy’s 12 saves clearly could not make enough of a difference as the Minutewomen (2-0) racked up 37 shots, while the Wildcats (1-1) only managed 12 of their own the entire game.

The gross difference can be accredited to multiple factors.

The defensive backline for UMass comprised of seniors Amber Tobin, Anne and Kate Farnham, and junior Taylor Fischer has plenty of talent and experience to go along with the chemistry that is expected from playing together in the same system for so long.

Even when the Minutewomen were a man down due to yellow cards, the defense stood its ground, as the Wildcats failed to score during both opportunities.

When it comes to playing defense when you’re a man down, it’s just really important that we talk through it,” Anne Farnham said. “And I think we did a great job of that today.

UNH came into Saturday’s game coming off a 14-8 victory over Hofstra, and presented the challenge of stopping one of the top offensive players in the American East conference in Laura McHoul. McHoul has led the Wildcats in points and assists the past two seasons.

While it is a team effort on defense for UMass, Tobin was the player who found herself matched up with McHoul throughout the majority of the game.

“We know in their last game they were really spread out on offense. We were focusing on Laura McHoul because she’s been a top player for them even since her freshmen year, and we wanted to make her life difficult today. Amber Tobin was the match-up and she did a great job with that,” McMahon said.

The defense as a whole managed to hold McHoul to only a single assist the entire game.

“Our attackers up front were doing a great job getting shots and scoring goals, and we really wanted to make sure we backed them up with solid defense,” Anne Farnham said.

Quick off the Draw

Another major factor to the Minutewomen’s dominance over UNH was their ball control, especially off the draw.

UMass controlled 17-of-22 draws within the game as junior midfielder Hannah Murphy led the way with seven draw controls, which lead the game by a comfortable margin.

“I think any time you have Hannah Murphy taking the draw for you, you feel pretty good,” McMahon said. “And she completely dominated today across the board.

In addition to her five points, Troost also contributed four draw controls as well, putting her second in both categories.

“That’s definitely been one of our strengths, and I’m really proud that it was such a big part of our win today. We’re definitely going to continue to emphasize it moving forward,” McMahon said.

This kind of suffocating defense and hustle to control the ball will most likely be a big part of the formula for the Minutewomen as they begin their hunt for an eighth straight Atlantic 10 title.

Nick Souza can be reached at [email protected]