UMass women’s lacrosse suffers first loss of season against No. 15 Boston College

By Thomas Johnston

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(Sam Anderson/Daily Collegian)

After starting the 2016 season with four wins at home, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team began its three-game road stretch with a 9-8 loss at No. 15 Boston College.

It was a quick start that went bad for the Minutewomen (4-1). With 19 minutes, 14 seconds remaining in the first half, UMass had already jumped out to a 3-0 lead courtesy of junior Hannah Murphy, who scored two of the first three goals.

From there, each team went on separate runs. The Eagles (3-2) quickly answered with three goals of their own over the span of 59 seconds with a pair of goals from Kate Weeks and another from Sam Apuzzo to tie the game 3-3.

After goals from Callie Santos with 12:32 left in the first half and Eileen McDonald at 10:04, the Minutewomen led 5-3. But BC answered with a four-goal run of its own to take a 7-5 lead.

“I thought we came to play today, we had great energy and intensity. They’re a great team, and fought their way back in. It was a back and forth battle, and in the end, we had a couple offensive possessions that we couldn’t really capitalize on,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said in a phone interview after the game.

“When the clock gets down and a team as skilled as Boston College has the ball, it’s tough to create turnovers,” McMahon continued.

BC’s Sarah Mannelly scored the first goal of the second half, her first of three goals in the game, to extend the Eagles lead to 8-6. The Minutewomen answered with Murphy’s third goal of the game with 22:55 remaining to cut the deficit to one.

After Caroline Margolis extended BC’s lead to 9-7, Nicole Troost scored her third goal of the game with 9:18 remaining to make it a one-goal game yet again.

“Nicole has been such a strong force finishing on the inside and just being a really key component within our offense and she has been the most consistent offensively,” McMahon said. (She) and Murphy have stepped up, in particular today.”

“(Murphy) set the tone for us and played really aggressive. Out in transition, she went very hard and created opportunities for us,” McMahon said.

With the one goal lead, BC was content passing the ball around and running out the clock. They used their skill to force UMass to play defense, not allowing the Minutewomen attack to get out and make plays.

McMahon, who has stressed to her team to get out to early and start quickly, was impressed with her team’s ability to go on the road and come out with energy and get a quick lead.

“(I was) really happy with how we came out with our energy and intensity. I loved the way we came out and started. We did great job of going on the road and battling against a tough BC opponent,” McMahon said.

With seconds remaining, UMass had a great opportunity to tie the game, but Murphy’s shot was saved by Eagles goalkeeper Zoe Ochoa (seven saves), ending the game in a 9-8 loss.

Even though the Minutewomen didn’t get the outcome they wanted, McMahon was happy with the way her team played. She hopes her team can learn from this game, and use it as experience the next time they play another team as skilled as BC.

“I’m really proud of our effort,” McMahon said, “and it really shows that we have a way to go to continue to get better and hopefully improve so that when we face another top 20 opponent so that result is different.”

Thomas Johnston can be reached at tjohnston @umass.edu.