Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse crushes George Mason, keeps rolling in A-10

Minutewomen now 3-0 in conference play
(Eva Trainer/Daily Collegian)

What was expected to be a close game between two teams atop the Atlantic 10 turned into a blowout Friday afternoon, as the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team dismantled George Mason in a 24-5 win.

After 10 minutes of strong defense on both sides, UMass (8-3, 3-0 A-10) began to overwhelm the Patriots (6-5, 2-1 A-10). Holding a three-goal lead midway through the first half, the Minutewomen broke out for four goals in just over three minutes to build a cushion. Another scoring blitz five minutes later – four goals in less than two minutes – broke the game open, and George Mason never recovered.

“From top to bottom, everybody stepped up,” coach Angela McMahon said. “Defense, offense, draw team. Overall just good energy. I thought we also made adjustments throughout the game really well. Defensively, in the beginning, we tweaked some things, and early when a couple of our shots weren’t falling, we adjusted our shooting. I think we just played in the moment, we stayed focused.”

The Minutewomen sliced and diced George Mason, creating wide-open shots time and time again. Sophomore Haley Connaughton and junior Kaitlyn Cerasi worked the ball behind the net, taking advantage of Patriots’ goaltender Melissa Semkiw’s struggle to defend players coming around from behind, and skillful passing and ball movement created a barrage of open shots.

“They were very player-focused – they had their certain matchups – so they weren’t really switching on certain people,” Cerasi said. “So I think everyone on the offense did their job, and that’s why we had so many goals.”

Connaughton finished with 10 points, tying the program record for a single game, with five goals and five assists, while Cerasi scored six goals to lead both teams.

Redshirt senior Kiley Anderson, who entered with 41 goals on the season, was relatively quiet against the Patriots, held to a single goal on two shots.

“Every team knows what she does,” Cerasi said. “They’re really honed on her, but she killed it on the draws too.”

While the Minutewomen attack steadily piled on, the defensive unit recovered from an unsteady performance against Virginia Commonwealth with arguably its best performance of the season. The Minutewomen caused 11 turnovers and foiled one possession after another, snuffing out any momentum the Patriots tried to build.

For once it was the defense that got going first, as the Patriots succeeded in holding down the Minutewomen in the opening minutes.

“Defense had an unbelievable game,” Connaughton said, “and every time they picked up the ball, we knew we had to step up, because they were working so hard down here, so we knew what we had to do down there.”

Coming into the game, UMass and George Mason were two of three teams undefeated in the A-10, and the Patriots were coming off a big win against defending A-10 champion Richmond. None of that mattered, as the Minutewomen steamrolled George Mason much like their season-opening win against Bryant.

“We got really pumped up for this game,” Connaughton said. “Coming off a win [over] Richmond from them, we knew we had to step up, as we always do. But we were really pumped today.”

UMass will take on the only other undefeated team in the A-10, Saint Joseph’s, at home on Sunday.

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed at [email protected].

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