UMass women’s lacrosse heads to New Hampshire eyeing second- straight victory

By Ryan Ames

(Jessica Picard/Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will have a golden opportunity to win back-to-back games for the first time this season Friday at New Hampshire.

UMass (2-3) will travel to New Hampshire to take on a UNH (0-5) team that is still looking for its first victory of the year.

The Minutewomen are coming off a dramatic 10-9 overtime victory over Connecticut on Sunday in which senior Callie Santos-just named co-athlete of the week by UMass Athletics-scored the game-winner in the extra period. UMass hopes to continue its winning ways heading into Durham.

“[We] just [want] to build off of the momentum coming from the UConn win,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said. “We want to create a lot of positive energy going forward and hopefully get a string of wins and not just having it be one.”

A factor in the Wildcats’ poor record so far has been goal scoring, as UNH has totaled just 43 goals while its opponents have managed 70. Turnovers have also been problematic for the Wildcats as they have had 95 total miscues with a majority (57) coming in the second half.

“We always want to put pressure on teams all over the field,” McMahon said. “Whether it’s in a ride, our defense, especially in our transition defense as a first line of defense, an opportunity to really slow the ball down and create some turnovers. It’s definitely going to be a big focus.”

Pouncing on UNH will also be ideal for the Minutewomen as the Wildcats have better offensive numbers in the first 30 minutes compared to the latter 30. UNH has scored more goals (26 of 43) and recorded more shots on goal (49 of 86) in its first five contests of 2017.

UMass would be best served not allowing the Wildcats any life that could potentially spark them to an upset victory.

“Definitely,” McMahon said if the start to the game will be important. “Every game it needs to be that for us in dictating the tempo and pace of play. Draw controls are going to be critical in regards to that. Whether it’s draws or whether it’s caused turnovers and pushing the transition from there, I think it’s definitely going to be creating momentum for us in that first part of the game.”

The Minutewomen nearly dropped their previous game as a result of inconsistent play in the second half and they’ll definitely be looking for a more all-around effort on Friday.

Similar to UNH, UMass hasn’t caught fire when it comes to scoring, only tallying 49 total goals until now combined with relatively low shots on goal, only putting 12 more shots to the cage (98) than the Wildcats.

Senior Hannah Murphy and juniors Holly Turner and Hannah Burnett will look to continue their offensive excellence in the Friday matinee. Murphy and Turner are tied with eight goals, which leads the Minutewomen, and Burnett is fresh off a four-point outing from Sunday’s win.

Junior Krissy Schafer has the hot hand for UNH, compiling 12 goals, and is followed closely behind by senior Devon Croke with 10. Junior Devan Miller leads the Wildcats in points through five games with 15.

“[I’m] looking forward to playing another state-school, New England rival,” McMahon said. “We’re trying to bring in some new concepts and trying some new things for the next few games and it’s going to be exciting and fun. I think they’re looking forward to playing and competing.”

“With it being close to a lot of players homes hopefully we’ll get a lot of fans there and create some energy,” McMahon added.

Game-time is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Wildcat Field.

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