UMass women’s lacrosse splits weekend trip in Florida

By Ryan Ames

(Robert Rigo/Collegian)

It took a little longer than usual, but the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team finally has a win to its name.

UMass (1-2) beat Jacksonville 14-13 in heart-pounding fashion Sunday afternoon in Florida to break out of its season-opening two-game skid.

Trailing 5-0 just over 10 minutes into the game, the Dolphins (0-2) put the Minutewomen in a tough spot right out of the gate. However, UMass scored five of the next six goals in the first half to make it a 6-5 contest. The Minutewomen carried that momentum into the second half, trailblazing the comeback effort in what would turn out to be a thrilling win.

“[It] feels great,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said about getting the first win of the year. “Especially since Jacksonville is such a great team.”

Freshman Kaitlyn Cerasi had a big day offensively for the Minutewomen as she recorded a team-high five points (three goals, two assists) against JU. Senior Hannah Murphy also notched a hat-trick in the win.

McMahon recognized both Cerasi and Murphy as key cogs in the victory over the Dolphins and also highlighted her team’s overall solid play.

“I thought a lot of players stepped up today,” McMahon said. “Murphy stepped up today with the draw controls and I thought Cerasi handled herself well being a freshman.”

Eight different Minutewomen tallied points in the victory, including multi-point efforts from junior Holly Turner, senior Callie Santos—both with two goals, one assist—and sophomore Cassidy Doster (two goals), to go along with Cerasi and Murphy.

Free-position shots were pivotal in this matchup and UMass had the upper-hand going five-for-seven, including a perfect three-of-three in the final 30 minutes, compared to JU’s two-for-five performance. Likewise, draw controls were of high importance and once again the Minutewomen outpaced the Dolphins finishing with 16 draw controls compared to JU’s 11.

McMahon was especially proud of her team’s ability to battle back and make it a game after falling into a substantial five-goal deficit early on.

“[It shows] toughness,” McMahon said. “We’ve been trying to focus on the things we can control, trying to generate offensive production and possession, and today we did that.”

For JU, junior Ashtyn Hiron had a strong performance compiling five goals in defeat.

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Hiller made nine saves for the Minutewomen in her third career start.

UMass trampled by Buffaloes 11-7

After tying the contest 5-5 in the first minute of the second half, UMass surrendered three quick goals to Colorado and never recovered, falling 11-7 against the Buffaloes (3-0) Friday afternoon.

Redshirt junior Hannah Burnett led the charge for the Minutewomen, finishing with three goals, along with Murphy (two goals) and Turner (one goal, three assists). Hiller had 10 saves in the loss.

Turnovers were costly for UMass as it committed 17 in the matchup while CU only had nine miscues. This helped the Buffaloes in the shot department as they heavily outshot UMass 35-24 over the course of the game.

Junior Darby Kiernan paced the offense for CU finishing with five points (four goals, one assist), while senior goalkeeper Paige Soenksen made eight saves for the win.

Next up for the Minutewomen is a meeting with No. 5 Syracuse this Saturday. McMahon understands the importance of getting that first win before their game against the Orange.

“[It’s] key building confidence and obviously they’re a fantastic team so we’re going to have our work cut out for us this week,” McMahon said.

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