Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Unselfish play helps UMass women’s lacrosse control pace, blow past Bonnies

Minutewomen pile up 39 shots Friday

By Dan McGee, Collegian Staff

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On a snowy April afternoon, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team defeated St. Bonaventure 18-4 on Friday.

Tallying their fourth consecutive victory, the Minutewomen (8-3, 3-0 Atlantic 10) were able to control the game by sharing the ball and playing at their own offensive pace to gain the edge over the Bonnies (0-11, 0-3 A-10).

“Having the ball always helps consistently,” said coach Angela McMahon. “We really dominated time of possession which really helped us generate momentum and flow [on offense].”

The possession largely stemmed from their dominance in the draw circle, where UMass finished with an 18-6 advantage in draw controls. Nine of these controls came from the stick of Kiley Anderson, who added onto her team high tally of 68 in the draw department.

Anderson believes pacing the game involved getting all parts of the UMass team involved in ball movement and transitions.

“When the ball is transitioning really well, the defense did an amazing job,” said Anderson. “As soon as they got a knockdown or a caused turnover they had their heads up, they were hitting the [midfielders] who were hitting the attackers, and we were really able to get a nice flow on the transition side of the game. I think when we have that really good transition it opens up a lot more for the attackers to really see the net and score the ball.”

The transition play allowed 11 different UMass players to score in the game, including three goals by Anderson herself. Multiple goals were also tallied by Hannah Burnett, Abby Walker, Cassidy Doster and Brooke McDaid.

“Any time we have the whole team involved in our offense I think we play better,” said McMahon. “We want to be that type of team where if you shut down one player, another player steps up. For us to continually play like that, keep the ball in the air with a lot of assisted goals with a lot of people involved really helps us in terms of depth in what we can do toward the end of the season.”

The victory follows a 14-4 victory over Davidson where the UMass offense didn’t look nearly as sharp. In this game however, midfielder Cassidy Doster noticed some differences to the Massachusetts offense that allowed it to control the game.

“I think this game we were spread out and we were using each other more,” said Doster. “We were using picks instead of taking it one-on-one. We kinda figured it out in practice where we practiced different kinds of [man defenses] so at the end what we practiced really helped.

“What our coaches always tell us is to ‘think of the play ahead’ and to make the cut as the ball is in the air to continue a ladder type of movement. Basically all we’ve been trying to do is just beat them with the speed of the ball.”

Another fundamental part of the success of the Minutewomen offense has been their goalkeepers’ unique abilities to leave the crease and play freely throughout the field. Both Lauren Hiller, who played the first half, and Sam Walters, who played the second, frequently left their goalkeeper crease during the game and have throughout the season. This has allowed UMass to add additional pressure and make faster and smoother transitions.

“It’s just to get pressure on ball so we can send some more pressure as a whole,” said McMahon. “Both of our goalies are extremely athletic and fast and really thrive in that environment when they’re playing aggressive and taking risks. It’s really just pushing them to play to their strengths.”

St. Bonaventure had no answer for the aggressive play of the UMass goalies and could not capitalize on any of the opportunities during the game where the UMass net was left empty.

The Minutewomen have a quick turnaround as they face La Salle on Sunday. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

Dan McGee can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DMcGeeUMass.

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