Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse emphasizes defense in approaching games as its key to gaining momentum for conference play

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(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

The University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will travel into Ivy League territory this Wednesday in Cambridge where the Harvard Crimson will host the Minutewomen, who are aiming for their third consecutive win this season.

UMass (3-3) enters the match-up emerging from two huge victories; including an overtime win against the Connecticut on March 5 and a nine-goal win over New Hampshire on March 10.

After starting the season with two losses, the Minutewomen have finally hit their stride winning back-to-back games. UMass looks to carry it over into conference play, which commences on March 31 against Virginia Commonwealth.

“[The game] could set the tone for the rest of our season,” senior Sarah Crowley said. “It’s honestly very exciting because we’re considering this the start to the rest of our season.”

Meanwhile, Harvard (4-2) is coming off a tough overtime loss against Syracuse on March 18. The Crimson is averaging a hefty 15.50 goals per game and has netted 93 total goals so far this season. Also having gone 17-30 on free-position shots (56.7 percent) their offensive dominance is prominent.

The Minutewomen enter Wednesday’s contest averaging 10.33 goals per game. In their most recent win at UNH they tallied their second highest goal total this season (13) and also displayed their best defensive performance allowing only four goals.

Hannah Murphy and Holly Turner currently lead UMass in points with 18 a piece. Murphy has netted 11 goals and dished off seven assists while Turner has split hers evenly with nine goals and nine assists.

Murphy is averaging seven draw controls per game, which leads the A-10. The senior has a total of 42 draw controls on the season so far.

“We’re just trying to take it game by game and just focus on what we need to do to hopefully be successful,” Minutewomen coach Angela McMahon said. “I think it’s going to be a great New England rivalry [game].”

UMass is ranked second in the A-10 in caused turnovers, averaging 11.17 per game and accumulating 67 in total thus far this season. Crowley leads that category with a team-high of 12 caused turnovers. The senior also adds an addition 10 draw controls.

“I hope that I continue to excel and that the rest of the team does too,” Crowley said. “If we can turn those turnovers into caused turnovers, it can really help kick off this season.”

Senior Marisa Romeo leads the Harvard offense with 29 points, consisting of 21 goals and eight assists. Fellow senior Keeley MacAfee trails Romeo with 17 goals and three assists, for a total of 20 points.

“The Crimson are a really good team and they’re doing well, they have a great record and they’ve played some really tough teams,” McMahon said. “The most important thing is going to be getting off to a good start in the game and setting the tempo early and hopefully maintaining it throughout the game.”

Harvard goalkeeper, Meredith Brown, averages 11.46 goals against. Brown will match up with the Minutewomen’s recent A-10 Rookie of the Week Lauren Hiller.

“Momentum in general going into our conference play will be really key to building confidence going forward,” McMahon said.

Mollie Walker can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MWalker2019.

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