Sixteen first-half goals propel UMass women’s lacrosse over VCU Sunday

Kiley Anderson ties single-game record with 16 draw controls

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Sixteen first-half goals propel UMass women’s lacrosse over VCU Sunday

(Maxwell Zaleski/ Daily Collegian)

(Maxwell Zaleski/ Daily Collegian)

(Maxwell Zaleski/ Daily Collegian)

(Maxwell Zaleski/ Daily Collegian)

By Ryan Beaton, Collegian Staff

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It took 18 days and four away games before the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team found itself back in Amherst on Garber Field turf. The road stint featured stops at Stetson University—a neutral site for games against Ohio State and Niagara University during spring break—Dartmouth and Davidson.

The Minutewomen collected a sweep in the sunshine state narrowly beating out Ohio State, 15-14, then crushing Niagara, 25-11. UMass lost a tough one to Dartmouth, 19-7, before a quick redemption later that week against Davidson saw the Minutewomen top the Wildcats 20-9.

UMass (7-3, 2-0 Atlantic 10) showed up to Garber on Sunday primed for what would be an intense scoring battle against conference foe, Virginia Commonwealth and the Maroon-and-White came out on top, stepping by the Rams (4-5, 1-1 A-10) 22-14.

“It just came down to focusing on our timing,” said UMass coach Angela McMahon. “Early in the game, we got a little too impulsive with our decision making… once we settled down and focused on having quality possessions, we did a great job of executing.”

Halfway through the first frame, Massachusetts started what would become a 12-1 run that spanned the next 13 minutes.

The top point-getters for the Minutewomen featured Stephanie Croke with eight, Kaitlyn Cerasi with seven and Kiley Anderson and Haley Connaughton with four each.

“We try to play as a team on our offense,” said McMahon on a group scoring effort. “All seven players should be a threat anytime they’re out there.

“I actually believe that we have such a talented group out there that any single person could step up and have a five, six-goal game on any given day—and that’s exactly what we’ve seen over the past couple games with Cassidy [Doster], Kaitlyn [Cerasi] and Kiley [Anderson].”

VCU, however, held its own in the transition game, causing 10 turnovers and nearly matching UMass in ground ball tallies—they finished one shy of the Minutewomen, with 24.

Kiley Anderson tied her own career record for draw controls in a game, matching her previous high of 16—two shy of the team record.

“Possession is everything for us,” said Anderson. “We value having the ball. We want the ball every single draw. So that was really my focus [today] … I’ve been off [on the draw] for a few games but now I’m back on.”

The 6-foot-3 redshirt senior has well established herself as not only the best draw specialist on the team but one of the better at that position in the country. As of March 21, Massachusetts was second in the nation for draw controls per game with 18.75, trailing only Boston College.

In the last 10-minutes of the game, UMass racked up four yellow-card penalties in a four-minute span.

“We lacked discipline there at the end of the game,” said McMahon. “[The officials] were calling a pretty tight game the whole time and we didn’t make those adjustments … we let our emotions get the best of us. I spoke to the team after the game and we’re going to learn from [those penalties]. It won’t happen again.”

The Minutewomen will be back in action this Friday against George Mason for the second part of a three-game home stretch.

Game is set for 3 p.m. at Garber.

Ryan Beaton can be reached at [email protected].