Kiley Anderson’s control on the draw helps push UMass women’s lacrosse past VCU

Minutewomen win again

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Kiley Anderson’s control on the draw helps push UMass women’s lacrosse past VCU

(Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian)

(Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian)

(Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian)

(Eva Trainer/ Daily Collegian)

By Cameron Sibert, Collegian Staff

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As fans caught their first glimpse of spring with temperatures in the high 50s on Sunday, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team rolled to a strong 22-14 win over Virginia Commonwealth.

Senior Kiley Anderson played a crucial role, scoring four points and tying her career high in draw controls at 16, falling just short of the UMass (7-3, 2-0 Atlantic 10) record of 18 in a single game.

“That was our focus going into today, possession this year is everything for us. We value having the ball, we want the ball every single draw, so that was really the focus today, getting possession for my team,” said Anderson.

Those 16 draw controls helped the Minutewomen break away as both teams settled into the first half where the score was 4-4 after 12 minutes. With possession on their side, UMass sprung 12 goals on the Rams (4-4, 1-1 A-10) over the next 13 minutes, spearheaded by three goals from both Kaitlyn Cerasi and Stephanie Croke in that span.

“I think we’re really learning and growing as a program, we’re really focusing on our commitment, our attitudes, and what we can bring to the table,” said Anderson. “I’m really proud of Steph and Kait for stepping up, I think that our goal is to be unscoutable, if you’re going to shut down one of us, another person’s going to step up, and I think that’s our mentality going forward into the rest of A-10 play.”

Anderson has become known for her skill on the draw, tallying 107 controls last season, as she chases that total already having 46 under her belt this season. The senior from Killingworth, Connecticut has done more than win draws, as she leads the team in points thus far with 46, coming off of 41 goals and five assists. Anderson has scored in all of the games she has played in with her season high coming against Connecticut on March 3rd.

“They were throwing a lot of different things at [Anderson],” McMahon said, “they were attacking her pretty hard physically and I thought she handled that really well and worked through it. It’s something she needs to be prepared for going forward, that teams are going to continue to step up and be aggressive. We have to position ourselves, especially players around the circle, to always help her out and have her back.”

Her teammates did just that, as the midfield and defense worked in unison to help junior goalkeeper Lauren Hiller get back out on the field after returning from a thumb injury which she suffered in the preseason. Freshman Gina Carroll has done well in filling that role in her absence, and ended up finishing off the last 11 minutes of the game allowing four goals and making three saves.

“I think it was just focusing on taking our time, I think early in the game we got a little impulsive in our decision making, and were making really quick fast decisions and we weren’t able to convert. Once we settled down and really focused on having quality possessions, I think we did a great job of executing,” said McMahon.

Last season, the Minutewomen went nearly perfect in conference play, with their only loss coming to VCU in an overtime loss in April. This season, they start 2-0 in the A-10 after defeating Davidson on the road Friday.

The Minutewomen have two more home games in a row ahead of them, with George Mason coming to Amherst on Friday for a 3 p.m. contest on Garber Field before UMass hosts Saint Joseph’s on Sunday.

Cameron Sibert can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @cameron_sibert.