Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse wins physical battle in victory over Albany

Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian
(Judith Gibson-Okunieff/Daily Collegian)

The stats and final score may not have shown it, but Wednesday’s game between the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team and Albany at Garber Field was physical and contested.

UMass (7-1) came into the game knowing to beat the Great Danes (3-3), the battle for possession would be especially pivotal in determining the outcome.

The Minutewomen won this battle for both draw controls and ground balls – 14-8 and 21-15 respectively – en route to a 13-7 victory.

“Albany is similar to us in that they are a blue collar and gritty team and I think we did a good job handling the pressure,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said.  “I think we could do better with turnovers though, especially in the second half.”

One major cause for the amount of ground ball opportunities on both sides was the amount of turnovers in the game. In transition, both teams struggled to keep the ball on their own sticks, particularly in the second half when they combined for 27 turnovers (13 for UMass, 14 for Albany).

Leading the way for the Minutewomen in draw controls was senior defender Kate Farnham, who finished with five of UMass’ 14 victories.

“Albany is a very good team and our goal coming into today was that we need the 50/50 balls and draw controls to win the game,” Farnham said. “We’re confident in our attackers to score, we just needed to make sure we got possession.”

The Minutewomen committed to every draw and 50/50 ball as many players ended up hitting the deck on multiple occasions. The physical play between the two teams when fighting for the ball led to an unusually high amount of fouls with both teams combining for 49.

Many of these fouls came from excessive contact and dangerous shots, leading to stoppages that included players needing help off the turf and four yellow cards – all called on the Great Danes. Both teams took advantage with four free position goals a piece, with UMass also cashing in on two man-up advantages.

Farnham admitted that Wednesday’s game did get a little frustrating at times in terms of its physicality, as she also committed three of the team’s 21 fouls.

“In the moment it’s easy to get frustrated, but you just have to take it easy and not let outside things affect you. It’s definitely a mix between fun and frustrating,” she said.

UMass was just as powerful on faceoffs as it has been all season, despite the Great Danes’ best efforts.

Midfielder Hannah Murphy won a team-high nine draw controls, increasing her season total to 49. Controlling the ball off the draw was just as difficult and physical of a task as controlling ground balls, but Murphy said she wasn’t fazed.

“I know every time there’s a draw I’m going to get wacked. If they scout our draw then they’re going to crash me, so I just accept that it’s going to happen and don’t let it affect me,” she said. “You just have to be determined to get the ball and you can’t be scared.”

Murphy added three goals to her performance in the circle, as one of three Minutewomen to record hat tricks. Murphy wasn’t alone in taking draws, as sophomore Abby Walker took half of UMass’ faceoffs and converted two draw controls as well.

“It really speaks to our athleticism as a team to be able to fight for control of so many possessions,” McMahon said. “I think switching between Murphy and Walker really threw them off as well.”

Nicholas Souza can be reached at [email protected].

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