No. 20 UMass women’s lacrosse defeats Duquesne 15-9

By Thomas Johnston

(Daily Collegian/Erica Lowenkron)
(Daily Collegian/Erica Lowenkron)

Frigid conditions at Garber Field were no problem for the red hot No. 20 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team Sunday afternoon, as it cruised to a 15-9 victory over Duquesne.

The win marks the team’s 38th straight victory in Atlantic 10 play, tying the Minutewomen (9-1, 2-0 A-10) with Northwestern for most consecutive conference wins in NCAA history.

“I think it’s a testament to the players and our coaching staff on how hard they work to prepare for each and every game. Especially when you go on a run like that, you have a little bit of a target on your back and you’re going to get everyone’s best game,” said coach Angela McMahon, who picked up her 100th career win at UMass.

“It sets a great standard for UMass and our expectations and creating a winning culture. It’s a credit to all the alumni and players who have come through and worked so hard day in and day out to set the bar high.”

The Minutewomen proved once again to be too much to handle on the offensive end for their opposition. In the first half alone, UMass outshot the Dukes (3-6, 1-1 A-10) 28-6.

Duquesne deployed the strategy of attempting to take away midseason Tewaaraton Watch List player Erika Eipp by having one defender constantly face guard her. This created openings for other Minutewomen attackers such as senior Nicole Troost, who added to her high-scoring season with five more goals. Now with 33 goals on the year, Troost credited her teammates for her success.

“My teammates are the ones that set me up. I work with a lot of people from behind and up top. We work together to get each other open, and my fellow attackers see the field very well,” Troost said. “We always try to get a ton of looks, a ton of shots on cage, a ton of shots every game, that’s our goal.”

McMahon sees her offense as one that is tough to stop when they put the type of pressure on goalies as they did with the Dukes today.

“They can score at any time and we want to be as dynamic as possible,” she said. “I think we did a good job of having those different players stepping up and generating a lot of shot opportunities.”

UMass didn’t wait long to get on the scoreboard, with Hannah Murphy scoring just 18 seconds into the game. The Minutewomen then jumped out to a three-goal lead before Duquesne’s Jill Vacanti found the back of the net for the first of her five goals. UMass began to get aggressive defensively, creating turnovers all over the field and taking an 11-3 lead into half.

While the Dukes made small runs in the second half, the game was never in question. By having a large lead, McMahon was able to get a plethora of girls into the game who normally don’t see the field, seeing opportunities like these as great chances to develop younger players.

“Just to get some game experience (and) build their confidence, also seeing different strategies of different teams and looks, all of that is important for their lacrosse IQ,” McMahon said. “I think it’s great, and a key aspect of our program in creating that positive culture and everyone feeling like they have a shot.”

UMass is back in action this Friday when it heads to Virginia to take on George Mason at 6 p.m.

Thomas Johnston can be reached at [email protected]