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 opens season with clash against Boston College

Robert Rigo/Collegian

Last season, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team lost one game during the regular season and that came at the hands of Bay State rival Boston College.

On Wednesday, UMass gets its opportunity for revenge.

The No. 16 ranked Minutewomen will open their 2017 season schedule against the No. 17 Eagles in what will surely be an energized early-season battle.

“Just looking forward to playing another team other than ourselves,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said about her thoughts on this first contest. “We’ve been training all preseason and working really hard so I’m looking forward to having a really great opponent in BC.”

This pivotal season opener will give UMass a chance to assess how its game matches up against another respected opponent, and McMahon welcomes the early challenge.

“BC’s a great test,” McMahon said. “We had a great game against them last year, [they’re] an NCAA tournament opponent and also an in-state rival.”

“It’s going to be a tough test for us but I think it’ll also show us a lot of things that we’re capable of but also a lot of things we need to improve on,” McMahon added.

The Minutewomen hope to build off of the success they earned in 2016 when they recorded 20 total wins, tying the program record, while advancing all the way to the NCAA tournament Elite Eight as well.

UMass was also picked as a favorite to win the Atlantic-10 this year in the A-10 Preseason Coaches Poll, after claiming the championship in its previous eight seasons.

Although the Eagles spoiled a perfect regular season for the Minutewomen one season ago, McMahon doesn’t necessarily feel that’s a cause for any extra motivation in her team this time around.

“It’s more so us putting our best foot forward and playing the game we think we’re capable of playing,” McMahon said. “Staying focused and playing in the moment I think is also going to be critical to that.”

McMahon highlighted the roster turnover from both teams as another factor in this game being its own entity.

“We have a totally different team. We graduated six seniors and they [Boston College] graduated a lot so I think we just want to focus on ourselves.”

One key player UMass will be without is former All-American attacker Erika Eipp, who graduated this past spring and is now an assistant coach with the Yale women’s lacrosse program.

Eipp ender her career second on the Minutewomen’s all-time points list with 229, including a remarkable 2016 campaign in which she registered 97 points in 22 games.

BC (1-0) is coming off a 19-8 victory over Holy Cross on Saturday and aspires to beat UMass for the second time this season. The Eagles were paced by attacker Kate Weeks, who had five goals against the Crusaders. Fellow attacker Tess Chandler led BC in points on the day with three goals and five assists to her credit.

“It’s so early in the season and 17 games is a lot so we’re just focusing on daily improvement and hopefully Wednesday is the start of that,” McMahon said.

Game time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Garber Field.

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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