Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Blistering start propels UMass women’s lacrosse to dominant season-opening victory

Kiley Anderson led Minutewomen with six goals

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Blistering start propels UMass women’s lacrosse to dominant season-opening victory

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

(Collegian File Photo)

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team came into Bryant ready to play.

On the road Friday for the season opener, UMass (1-0) scored four goals in the opening two minutes and seven in the first four to race past the Bulldogs (0-1) for a 24-4 win.

“I think [the early lead] was critical,” coach Angela McMahon said. “Anytime you’re two minutes in with a 4-0 lead, not that you can relax a bit, but the overall level of confidence in our team just sort of naturally elevates.”

UMass led 10-0 just 10 minutes into the game, and the numbers at that point were staggering: the Minutewomen had outshot Bryant 16-4, held an 8-3 advantage in draw controls, and had just one foul to the Bulldogs’ eight.

With Kiley Anderson pulling down draw controls for UMass, Bryant only won two draw controls in the first four and a half minutes, and both possessions were immediately thrown away on errant passes. By the time the Bulldogs took their first shot, the score was 8-0.

The onslaught slowed a little from there, as UMass only outscored Bryant 7-3 the rest of the half.

“One of our goals is to take everything moment by moment, not get too far ahead of ourselves,” McMahon said. “I think that we did a good job, especially in that first half, of trying to focus on the moment. Doing our jobs, both offensively and defensively, in the draw control, each possession just really honing in on the little things that we could do to enable us to be successful as a unit.”

Senior Cassidy Doster opened up her senior campaign with a bang, recording a hat trick within four minutes of the opening gun. Her third goal stretched the lead to 7-0. Fellow senior Hannah Palau scored four times, while redshirt senior Kiley Anderson led the Minutewomen with six goals.

“In any game, I think any one of our offensive players is capable of doing that,” McMahon said of Anderson’s stat line. “It just depends on who’s open and who has the best look, and Kiley had some really good looks down there.”

Starting for the injured Lauren Hiller, goaltender Gina Carroll earned her first win in her first game with UMass. The freshman, who finished with 11 saves on 15 shots, wasn’t asked for heroics, as the Minutewomen controlled possession for nearly the entire first half en route to a comfortable halftime lead.

Bryant was able to even out the time of possession in the second half but was unable to convert, as Carroll made several lunging saves to keep the Bulldogs from adding on. By the time Carroll allowed the Bulldogs’ first goal of the second half, there was 3:03 left in the game and UMass was ahead by 20.

“I think she did a great job,” McMahon said. “We had been seeing it at practice, so it really wasn’t a surprise. Going into the game, she was really poised, really confident, but also working hard and had full support of her teammates and was communicating. I just thought it was a continuation of what we had been seeing her do each and every single day.”

The newbies for Bryant fared far worse. Bulldogs goalie Brianna Blatter was overmatched from the start, facing 31 shots and saving just seven against the swarming UMass attack. Bryant head coach Brianna Roche, who spent three years as an assistant at UMass, opened her collegiate head-coaching career on Friday with a loss.

“I think if I had said anything [to Roche], it might have been that there’s a lot of time,” McMahon said. “It’s very early in the season, just to keep plugging away. I do think they’re going to do great under her, and was really impressed with their level of feistiness and intensity.”

The Minutewomen resume play on Thursday, as they take on No. 1 Boston College in their home opener.

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports.

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