Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Defense leads the charge as UMass women’s lacrosse holds Davidson to four goals

Keane and Hiller bridge together defensive holes

By Ryan Beaton, Collegian Staff

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Led by a stellar defensive showing, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team held Davidson to a mere four goals Saturday in Amherst.

UMass (7-3, 2-0 A-10) was a force to be reckoned with throughout the entire game, leading 8-0 at the end of the half, then finishing off Davidson (6-4, 1-1 A-10) by a score of 14-4.

Senior defenseman Kasey Keane, who has the most ground balls and caused turnovers amongst the Minutewomen, added to her team-leading statistics, registering three groundballs and three caused turnovers.

Keane’s defensive presence sparked her defensive teammates to follow in her footsteps. Caroline Wise and Stephanie Croke each forced turnovers in the second half that directly resulted in goals being scored seconds after.

“It’s really just at that point where everyone is working in a cohesive unit and on a string,” said Keane. “My teammates were in a good position where I was able to read (the pass). If they weren’t in those spots that they were supposed to be, I wouldn’t have been able to get that [turnover].”

Sophomore goaltender Lauren Hiller recorded eight saves on 12 shots on goal from Davidson.

Hiller, who is no stranger to leaving her crease, looked comfortable running the ball up the field to assist the midfielders during clears, in addition to making a couple defensive plays that were out of position.

“Hiller’s been really aggressive this year, she’s been getting turnovers,” Keane said. “You can see she’s up past the 50 a lot of the time, so it’s really about us having that confidence in Hiller and her having that confidence in herself. She is also a defender in that she can make those defensive plays just as much as anyone else on the field.”

The Minutewomen, who went 19-21 on clears, can credit their high conversion percentage to Hiller for her stick accuracy and willingness to go the extra mile.

“Personally, it just helps me to be out there and, kind of, running around a little bit, not just sitting in the cage all game,” said Hiller. “Transition wise, I think it kind of aids us because it cuts down on their ride game. If I come further up, then they have to back up further, then I can potentially get clears all the way up to our offensive people way back there.”

UMass coach Angela McMahon was extremely impressed with her defense’s ability to communicate with Hiller, limiting Davidson to just 18 shots.

“I think she did really well,” said McMahon. “Specifically, one of our goals for her was to be really aggressive today. In terms of the shots she was seeing, really getting out on it, playing her angles well, I think she really homed in on the things she got feedback on from St Joe’s. It’s all about improvement and she did that today.”

The defense will look to follow up with another strong performance it will match up against a winless St. Bonaventure team on Friday at Garber Field.

The game is scheduled for 3 p.m.

Ryan Beaton can be reached at [email protected]

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