Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass goalie Lauren Hiller has led on and off the field this season

Junior hasn’t skipped a beat since returning from injury

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UMass goalie Lauren Hiller has led on and off the field this season

By Cameron Sibert, Collegian Staff

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As the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team winds down on regular season play and looks towards tournament play, one player’s voice has been key in leading the team both on and off the field.

Junior goalie Lauren Hiller has been starting for the Minutewomen since she joined the squad in 2017 as a freshman. She now holds a career-record of 37-9, is undefeated when playing this season and has amassed 375 total saves with a .439 total save percentage for her career.

After suffering a thumb injury at the beginning of the season, the North Andover native was forced to sit out the first eight games. During that time, freshman Gina Carroll stepped up to fill her shoes, giving Hiller the opportunity to develop herself as a leader off the field, continuing to communicate with team mates and sharing her support.

“I think it was really good for me, this year I’ve been trying to become a better leader and am still working on it,” Hiller said, “and I think being out, and being able to lead from a different role was really important for me, and is helping me now that I’m back in the cage.”

Since getting back in net, Hiller has allowed an average of 10.44 goals per game, with a .486 save percentage off of 70 total saves. She is coming off of possibly her biggest career game so far, where she had her career high 17 saves in a revenge win over Richmond on Sunday.

In that contest, Hiller made a huge save with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. With UMass down a player from a penalty, Hiller was able to make a save that pushed the game to overtime where her team would eventually go on to win.

“She, in that game particularly, played with a lot of discipline and poise, and no matter what the scenario and situation was, I think she was just steady as a rock,” coach Angela McMahon said. “And that is what we need out of her, really honing in on the consistency and bringing that each and everyday, the more she does that, the more out team benefits. She’s extremely talented, and very skilled, and I think she’s playing her best lacrosse right now so we want that to continue.“

As the team looks towards post season play and the NCAA tournament, they will need continued good play from their experienced goalie, and they expect to get it. Hiller played in her first NCAA tournament games as a freshman and was able to pick up a win over Colorado, only allowing seven goals in that game back in 2017.

She will be looking for continued help from her defense, who although young, have done well in keeping shots away from net.

“They’ve been great,” Hiller said. “We’ve been through a lot this season, we’re really young which is nice, and everyone’s really been stepping up and being a leader which I think has been great.”

One of those young defenders, Amy Moreau, spoke about her goalie’s ability to lead from the net while on the field.

“I always hear on the field, she’s always helping us out, even when attack has the ball and are coming down, or on transition not just when the ball is near us,” said Moreau. “She’s all over the field, speaking all the time and helping everyone out.”

Hiller and the Minutewomen close out the regular season Saturday, taking on George Washington at 11:45 a.m. at Garber Field.

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

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