UMass women’s lacrosse’s Erika Eipp looks to end decorated Minutewomen career in dominating fashion

By Henry Brechter

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)
(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

Since transferring to the University of Massachusetts before her sophomore season in 2014, Massachusetts women’s lacrosse attacker Erika Eipp has done nothing but succeed at a high level.

The number of games Eipp has lost since her Amherst arrival is in single digits (five). The senior has led UMass to the NCAA tournament each of the past two years, and barring some sort of catastrophe, will likely continue that trend in 2016 as the Minutewomen (4-1) seek their eighth straight Atlantic 10 championship.

Her list of accolades goes on, as Eipp was recently named to the 2016 Tewaaraton Watch List, the first UMass player to make the national list since All-American Katie Ferris in 2013 and 2014. The Tewaaraton Award, presented by Under Armour, goes to the best male and female collegiate lacrosse players each year.

For Eipp, all the personal recognition is well-deserved, especially in the eyes of UMass coach Angela McMahon, who has seen her star player and top attacker grow tremendously in just over two seasons.

“The key component for Erika is her confidence,” McMahon said. “She is a great leader and always does the extra work outside of practice.”

McMahon added: “She’s always one of our fittest players, and sets the example for the younger players … Coming in alongside (Katie) Ferris in 2014 helped her a lot and gave her someone to watch and grow under.”

Eipp has racked up numerous honors, consistently produced upper-echelon statistics and fueled UMass in one of the program’s most successful runs in program history. But in Eipp’s eyes, it’s less about personal achievement and much more about the overall progress of the Minutewomen.

“My goal is always to set my teammates up,” said Eipp, the reigning A-10 offensive player of the year in 2015. “Usually, teams double me around the net, which is when other players get open, so it works out well.”

“Her teammates are really the recipients of her great play,” McMahon added. “She is great at helping our offense come together and play as a unit. She loves looking to set her teammates up.”

The road to Amherst

After Eipp’s freshman year of high school in New York, Eipp transferred to Groton-Dunstable High School in Groton where she solidified herself as the school’s all-time leading scorer, ending with a 120-goal senior season. It was here where she said her thoughts of a lacrosse career heated up, at a time where she also played three years of club lacrosse for Revolution Lacrosse in Boston.

Eipp went on to play her freshman season in college at Louisville, starting 13 of 14 games for the Cardinals, where she scored 15 goals and tallied 13 assists, which was good for second on the team.

But after just one year away from the Bay State, Eipp was ready to make her return.

“The team and the facilities at Louisville were the big reasons why I chose to go there originally,” Eipp said of her original college choice. “But when I got there it just wasn’t the right fit for me lacrosse-wise.”

Eipp originally considered UMass as an option when looking at colleges and she visited the campus when she still lived in New York. When she realized Louisville wasn’t going to work out, she didn’t hesitate to re-consider the Minutewomen.

“I got in contact with Angela right away and she really made me feel welcome,” Eipp said. “Then when I visited again, the team atmosphere really welcomed me in and I knew I would be a good fit here.”

This relocation was the beginning of a prosperous coach-player relationship between Eipp and McMahon. The duo has combined for a record of 41-5 since the beginning of the Eipp’s sophomore season in 2014.

“I knew Katie Ferris from when we played together in New York and when I was first looking here, she always talked about how great of a coach Angela was and how she was like a mother figure,” Eipp said.

“When I came here, she really took me in and showed me the ways.”

Leaving a legacy

Despite her late start with the Minutewomen, Eipp has already cemented her place in UMass history and continues to climb the ladder in program records.

Eipp has scored 83 goals and notched 72 assists in a little more than two seasons in Amherst. Her 75 points last year was good for 24th in the NCAA and the fourth-most in Minutewomen single-season history. Only five games into her senior year, she ranks fifth on the school’s all-time assist list and is 47 away from tying the all-time school record held by Ferris.

“As a team, our main goal is for all players on the field to help each other out and work together,” McMahon said. “Our success is determined more by how we play and our focus is on operating as a unit … Erika is great at running through what we want to do as a team.”

While personal milestones are not at the top of the list of UMass’ concerns at this point in the season, the Minutewomen will lean on Eipp’s continued production to fuel them the rest of the way.

Eipp has tallied a team-high 23 points on 10 goals and 13 assists so far this season. She rarely comes off the field and is constantly looked at by her teammates whenever the Minutewomen are making a scoring push.

“Her production is absolutely critical to our success,” McMahon said. “She is very multi-dimensional and can score any given play. She is playing the best lacrosse of her career right now.”

When the Minutewomen play their final game this year, Eipp’s legacy will forever be cemented in record books at UMass. But it won’t be the end-all-be-all for the Massachusetts native, as far as she’s concerned.

“I’m still trying to decide what I want to do,” said Eipp, reflecting on her future. “I’m going to try out for the new professional women’s league and maybe the U.S. national team also, depending on what I do besides lacrosse.”

Henry Brechter can be reached at [email protected].