Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse heads into A-10 play looking to build on past conference success

Minutewomen open A-10 play Friday

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UMass women’s lacrosse heads into A-10 play looking to build on past conference success

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

(Parker Peters/Daily Collegian)

By Cameron Sibert, Collegian Staff

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With Sunday’s loss to Dartmouth, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team is prepping for the start of conference play against a worthy opponent in the Davidson.

Davidson currently sits at 6-2 and were undefeated up until its last two contests, most recently falling to No. 13 Duke, and will be looking get itself back in the win column at home Friday against UMass (5-3). The last time these two teams faced off was in last year’s Atlantic 10 tournament, where UMass ended the Wildcats’ season in the semifinal round.

“They’re well coached, they’re disciplined, they’re smart,” said coach Angela McMahon. “So, we’re just focusing on the things we need to do to progress as a team for us. Get back to that ball possession game, bring a level of competitiveness and intensity that is representative of our program, and just having a lot of people step up. When we were having a lot of success and scoring a lot of goals, even limiting other team’s scoring, we had so many different people stepping up, and that’s what works for us is being a really well balanced team not having it fall on one person’s shoulders.”

For UMass, conference play has been a strong suit. The Minutewomen won an NCAA-record 61 consecutive league games over an eight-year span. UMass was able to climb its way to the most total A-10 league championships, while also completing the longest streak of consecutive titles with nine in a row.

Much of that success can be attested to McMahon who helped the team earn an NCAA tournament berth in 2009 for the first time in 25 years. McMahon is 166-54 at this point in her ninth season with the team.

This season the team isn’t necessarily looking to continue a winning streak in A-10 play, but are looking to get back on the streak of A-10 titles they were on previously. For this year’s team, a much younger UMass, that process is one being taken day by day, with an overall team effort.

“I don’t know if I would say the word pressure, I think that our focus has been very much day by day, practice by practice, game by game,” McMahon said. “Literally, we’re not thinking past anything, were 100 percent focused on Davidson and that’s it, and that’s something I think we have done a much better job of this year in comparison to last year where sometimes we just lost a little bit of our focus. I think that all throughout the year we’ve really taken every opponent, every scout and every practice and have just been focused on what we need to do in that moment, and we’re doing such a better job of that. I think that’s translating into success in terms of us being able to go on runs, and eliminate runs, and really separating ourselves in some of the previous games so that’s what were going to be looking to do.”

A total team effort makes preparing for an opponent much more difficult, and the Wildcats will need to prepare for 6-foot-3 senior attacker Kiley Anderson who is having herself another strong season. She currently leads the team in points thus far, with 41 points coming off 38 goals and three assists, and is also a leader in the locker room, being one of a few seniors on this team with experience going into this part of the season.

Another senior with experience who uses it to help guide her fellow teammates is Cassidy Doster, who has 16 points thus far, and has scored 13 goals of her own this season.

“We’re still hungry for those wins, and we still want to win A-10s, we still want to win the game that’s in front of us, we’re focusing on one game at a time and whatever the outcome is, we’re hungry for it,” said Doster.

For players like Anderson and Doster, they have seen where the program has been the past few years, their wisdom can only help as the team gets set to turn the corner for A-10 play.

Friday’s game in Davidson, North Carolina is set for 6 p.m. as UMass will be looking to start A-10 play on the right foot. Last year the Minutewomen lost the A-10 title game to Richmond, which snapped a seven-year streak of tournament titles for the Minutewomen.

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

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