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 adjusts routine in preparation for Red Foxes

Minutewomen look to use start of schedule as learning curve
(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

After Massachusetts women’s lacrosse dropped two of three to start the season, it must focus its attention on improving its mental and technical game.

Starting with the toughest part of the team’s schedule is welcomed by UMass coach Angela McMahon, as long as the team rebounds after their losses to show they are learning from negative experiences instead of just relishing in the positive ones.

“We do [purposely schedule tough opponents early in the season],” McMahon said. “I think it’s really just having tough battles and learning and growing at that super high, intense level physically to really prepare us mentally.”

Marist is 2-0 on the season—their first win came against Army on Feb. 17, and they continued their strong play at home against Vermont, where they emerged with a 15-6 win.

Marist players Samantha Mehalick and Delaney Galvin earned the first offensive and defensive players of the week this season, respectively, in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The pair put up six goals and 14 saves.

This will be UMass’ third away game in a stretch of six straight. They have previously lost to number five ranked Boston College and Yale, so this will test what the players have taken away from the two losses.

A key focus in the Minutewomen’s approach this season is taking every competitor seriously, and focusing on one game at a time. Knowing that Marist is solid on both ends of the ball, UMass is trying to solidify their own balance.

“We are really trying to unify the two groups—the defense and offense—and try to have them play off each other a little bit more and have each other’s backs to play as a unit,” coach McMahon said. “That’s really going to be key for us to move forward.”

The team has experienced some early lapses in intensity, and they look to correct that by focusing on personal execution and overall team hustle. They will also be taking detailed looks at their competitors before facing them, so they can attempt to exploit any weaknesses.

In practice, the Minutewomen have increased the time devoted to working on shooting and draws. The ideology is to dominate play, and for that to happen, they win and maintain the ball as much as possible. Slinging a barrage of shots at the opposing team adds to their stress level and lowers their confidence.

UMass has struggled to truly dominate on the draw this season. Making things tougher will be Marist junior Hailey Wagner, who is second in school history in draw controls at 198. This is even more reason to work on draws at practice with the younger players, who will hopefully master the art of the draw and continue their work for years to come.

Increased practice on specific execution plays helps build intensity and physicality. The other side to the game is mental. The coaches believe that this long stretch of road games will improve this side of the players.

“A lot of our big games in-conference are going to be on the road, and the conference championship is going to be on the road,” McMahon said. “We’re usually on the road come NCAA tournament time should we make it there. So, for us to battle through the fatigue and the travel and feel like we can operate and execute under those conditions will pay off for us.”

Wednesday evening will tell the team if they have grown as athletes from their tough schedule thus far, and if their preparation is enough to get back on track.

Justin Ekstrom can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JustinJEkstrom.



Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Massachusetts Daily Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *