Amy Moreau emerging on defense for UMass women’s lacrosse

The freshman credits her newfound confidence for her recent success


Collegian File Photo

By Thomas Haines, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has kicked it up a notch on defense in its four-game win streak to open conference play, and at the forefront of its improved defense is freshman Amy Moreau.

After making a spot start against Connecticut early in the year, Moreau has started the last five games for UMass (9-3, 4-0 Atlantic 10) as the Minutewomen have risen to the top of the A-10.

“I think it’s really just her getting comfortable and confident out there and enabling her athleticism to take over, because she’s one of the most athletic players that we have on our team right now,” coach Angela McMahon said. “Her speed, her explosive step, she’s strong. She’s just such a dynamic player and she’s just really exciting to watch.”

Moreau showed flashes of that speed on Sunday against Saint Joseph’s, blazing down the field from the defensive backfield to create opportunity in transition. Midway through the second half, she cleared the ball after four quick shots by St. Joe’s and took it all the way into the attacking circle, only to be turned aside by goaltender Corinne Buttner.

“It’s just about finding the open looks,” Moreau said. “If I see a lane, I’m going to take the lane. That’s really it.”

Moreau’s athleticism has led McMahon to speculate about the possibility that she could contribute on the attacking end down the line, although she stressed that for now she wants Moreau focused on defense.

“Right now she’s good on D,” McMahon said. “That’s where we need her, is playing D, but we are confident in her ability to push the ball. Right now, in terms of where she’s excelling at what the team needs out of her, it’s defense, and she’s been doing a great job, and you just see her level of confidence rising, her playmaking and speed and athleticism.

“At some point we’ll probably see her a little more two-ways, but right now I just want her to continue building her confidence and chemistry among the defenders.”

That rising confidence has been the main key in getting her out onto the field more, as Moreau barely made an impact for the first month of the season. In the five games since becoming a full-time starter, Moreau has caused six turnovers and picked up seven ground balls.

“Just my confidence,” Moreau said on what she had improved. “I was a little scared, like, ‘if I mess up, I’m never going to see the field again.’ So I think just the confidence aspect of me [knowing] it’s okay if you make a mistake, and then you’re going to learn from it. There was one two games ago where I ran into a triple team and had a turnover.

“Then this last game, I almost did the same thing, but then I stopped and was like, ‘[assistant coach] Jana [Drummond] talked to me about this. ’Turn around, pass it.’ Every game I’m learning something new from my mistakes in the last game.”

Since Moreau entered the starting lineup in a bad loss against Dartmouth, the UMass defense has steadily improved, allowing just 13 goals in two games this past weekend and leading the way in a difficult win over St. Joe’s. Assuming the improvements stick, the future is bright, both for the Minutewomen in 2019 and for Moreau personally.

“I think over her career she’s going to help us in a lot of different ways,” McMahon said. “Right now, she’s stepping up, she’s doing her job and I think you’re seeing her get more comfortable and confident in that role.”

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