Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse blows past La Salle

Dual-sport athlete Kelly Marra scores first career goal

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(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

By Justin Ekstrom, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team stepped onto Garber Field on Sunday with a four-game winning streak, and walked off with five in a row following its 22-10 victory. La Salle (4-8, 0-4 Atlantic 10) did not have an answer for UMass’ mix of skilled players on the offensive end, as 12 different players scored for UMass (9-3, 4-0 A-10).

Multi-goal scorers for the Minutewomen included Kiley Anderson, Hannah Burnett, Abby Walker, Bella O’Connor and Cassidy Doster.

“It is not a specific game tactic, it is our team identity,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said. “The more people we have involved the better. [We got everyone involved] especially by moving the ball quickly, because at the end of the day the ball moves quicker than our feet.”

With the fast-paced, widespread offense that UMass utilized, players were able to find each other with relative ease. It was clear that every Minutewomen understood how to play in this manner, as both starters and bench players created effective offensive attacks with the breadth of the field.

“We don’t want to be one of those teams constantly setting up one-on-ones,” McMahon said. “We want to be sharing the ball, having assisted goals and having a team offense.”

This strategy of rotation and teamwork has allowed UMass to go on impressive in-game runs against A-10 opponents. The Explorers were victimized by this on Sunday when five separate Minutewomen contributed to five unanswered goals early in the second half. A pair of Hannahs — Burnett and Palau — started the streak with goals less than a minute apart.

“I think one thing we really tried to focus on in this game was spreading out our attack, moving the ball and keeping our heads up to look for the open cutters,” Anderson said. “So, I feel like what we were able to do to La Salle was spread out their defense, penetrate and then kick it back outside to find the open girl.”

By the time Anderson put the fifth one in the net, the score had transformed from a reachable game for La Salle to an insurmountable 19-7 deficit.

The variety of talent can be overseen thanks to athletes like Anderson, who take the headline in so many matches. However, an efficiently diverse offense does not work without players who initially spark energy and collaboration. At a score of 18-7, Anderson thrilled the home crowd with a behind-the-back shot off a quick transition.

“What I saw was Palau get the ball low while I was cutting through the middle and I had my stick up,” Kiley said. “She hit me and I saw my defender in front of me so I decided to throw it behind my back and thankfully it went in.”

The Minutewomen scored three more times, and finished off a 22-10.

UMass next takes on George Mason on the road Friday at 6 p.m.

Dual-sport athlete Marra scores first career goal

Nothing spoke more to the extent of involvement on Sunday than when freshman Kelly Marra scored an unassisted goal with 5:51 left in the game. While the stat sheet showed quite a diversity of names, it could not come close to capturing the excitement from scoring a first collegiate goal.

Marra is a two-sport athlete, and played for the UMass women’s soccer team in the fall and is now a member of the women’s lacrosse program.

Her goal was the first of her career, and the second point to which she has contributed.

“It was awesome,” Marra said postgame. “This was a really good game and we capitalized on a lot. Such an awesome feeling. [The Women’s Lacrosse Program] is awesome – I love the soccer team, but the lacrosse girls as well, so it’s great being part of the two programs.”

UMass lacrosse fans are used to high-volume scorers like Anderson, Burnett and former A-10 Offensive Player of the Year Holly Turner. Unlike these upperclassmen, Marra comes off the bench for UMass and is a perfect example of just how talented the depth of the team is.

Marra, a former captain from Sayville High School in New York, has already proven her athleticism with three goals on the soccer field as a Minutewoman. In fact, she came into the University with accolades such as All-County, All-American Honorable Mention and the Suffolk County Zone Award for Athletics and Academics. Marra also brings value from her experience in high school, where she ended her career with a total of 177 goals, 91 assists and team MVP honors.

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

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