Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse opens season with 16-5 win over Holy Cross

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(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

 

As one coach prepared to make history on Garber Field Friday night, another coach already cemented in history looked on from the stands.

Massachusetts women’s lacrosse coach Angela McMahon, in her first game on Garber Field since her playing days, became the all-time winningest coach in the program’s history with a 16-5 win over Holy Cross. From the opposing sideline, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick saw a coach achieve history, something he is no stranger to.

“I didn’t realize he’d be there, so that was pretty cool,” McMahon said after the game.

Belichick was on hand to see his daughter, Amanda, coach her first game at the head of the Crusaders (0-1). The game could have definitely gone better for the younger Belichick, as her team was outplayed in nearly every phase of the game.

The Minutewomen (1-0) picked up right where they left off last season, scoring 16 goals in their season debut. Senior attack Nicole Troost erupted for five goals, a career high, while reigning Atlantic 10 Midfielder of the Year Hannah Murphy tallied four goals of her own. Sophomore attack Holly Turner tied her career high with three goals as well, while fellow attackers Erika Eipp, Eileen McDonald, Callie Santos and defender Anne Farnham all scored once. Eipp, last year’s conference player of the year, also had four assists in the rout.

“We just wanted to run through our different offenses, different defenses and work through some of the kinks,” McMahon said. “Draw control and ground balls were big in winning the possession game.

Holy Cross looked overmatched throughout, and their offense staggered for much of the contest. UMass defense was adept at being aggressive and creating turnovers, forcing Crusader miscues for much of the night.

Defensively, the Minutewomen consistently attacked the ball carrier, and did well to protecting their cage. The back line of UMass held the Crusader attack to just 13 shots, while the Minutewomen’s own produced 30 on the other side of the field.

“Our focus is always to play hard and high-pressure defensively,” Murphy said. “We have a saying, ‘go in twos,’ and we tried to focus on that tonight, just helping each other out.

Fast pace was a common theme in Friday night’s game. At some points, the UMass offense was simply running circles around Holy Cross, executing fake shots/passes and quick cuts to a tee. Many offensive chances resulted from forced turnovers, followed by fast advances from the Minutewomen midfielders and defenders to get the ball back into a scoring zone.

While the offensive stars, like Murphy and Eipp get the statistical glory, they maintain a modest attitude, and focus on winning as a team more than personal achievement.

“They have been working so hard all fall and winter, which really makes us better,” Eipp said of her defensive unit. “They played unbelievable tonight, which got us the win. Defense always gets the win.

There are several new rule changes coming into the 2016 NCAA women’s lacrosse season, and they were evident on the field Friday night. Referees and players alike were clearly adjusting to some of the new rules, one of which allows a player to self-restart without a whistle after a dead ball.

“It’s going to be a ‘learn as we go’ situation, but I definitely think it’s a great advantage,” McMahon said of the self-restarts. “It definitely helps to pick up the pace

The Minutewomen next face off against New Hampshire Feb. 20, back on Garber Field.

Henry Brechter can be reached at [email protected]s.edu.

1 Comment

One Response to “UMass women’s lacrosse opens season with 16-5 win over Holy Cross”

  1. kristen b on February 16th, 2016 1:51 pm

    Very exciting…keep it up, DB!!!

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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