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 preparing for matchup with Ohio State

Minutewomen coming off 21-8 win over UMass Lowell
Nina Walat

After a blowout win over UMass Lowell on Monday, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will head to Milton, Georgia to meet up with the Ohio State Buckeyes for a neutral site matchup.

Now in her 10th season at UMass (2-1), head coach Angela McMahon is looking to build on her already impressive resume. She did so in game one, coaching UMass to a win over No. 5 Boston College – the first time in program history that UMass has beaten a top-five ranked team.

“I think it’s great, we’re being tested and seeing a lot of different things out of the different teams,” McMahon said. “So, we not only just want to be prepared for that A-10 season, but we really want to have success and have shown that we can do that on the national stage with some high-ranked opponents. It’s all about learning, and growing and improving and I think if we commit to that process each and every day then, the rest will sort of take care of itself.”

UMass has since dropped a game to No. 22 Dartmouth and won one over UMass Lowell. A lot of the success the Minutewomen will have has to do with the experienced group they are putting out this season, led by a trio of seniors in Stephanie Croke, Kaitlyn Cerasi and Lauren Hiller. A midfielder, an attacker and a goaltender, the Minutewomen’s seniors have played against the toughest teams in the NCAA and are poised for strong seasons.

Hiller, the goaltender from North Andover, MA, has been involved in the Minutewomen’s success since she stepped on campus as a freshman, helping UMass to a first round NCAA Tournament win over Colorado during that season. Hiller is 39-10 on her career, saving 44 percent of shots while wearing the maroon and white.

“Just like the general vibe is very different (this season),” Hiller said. “The past two years we’ve been trying to make a culture shift, and this year it seems to actually be taking effect and everyone’s kind of bought into the program and what we’re trying to do here and how far we think we can go. As a team we have goals to try and be as consistent as possible with every game we’re playing. Looking long term we want to win A-10’s that would be like the big goal, but also going to play in the NCAA tournament.”

Under McMahon, UMass has captured seven NCAA tournament berths, along with seven Atlantic 10 tournament titles and nine regular season conference titles.

The Minutewomen are consistently set up with a tough non-conference schedule. This year, having already played two ranked opponents, they still have tough games against Ohio State (4-2), Connecticut and Towson before starting conference play on March 20.

“I love having a hard non-conference schedule because I love playing good teams and I think no matter what it makes you better, win or lose,” Hiller said. “It sets us up for conference play because we’re playing at such a high level that hopefully we can carry that into conference play.”

The Minutewomen are well led this season, with experienced players and a coach that knows how to win games. McMahon is 157-27 during her time at UMass, making the program the second-most winningest NCAA program during the nine-year span, only behind Maryland.

Asked if her job gets an easier as the years go on, McMahon said, “No, but if it was easy it wouldn’t be fun. I embrace the challenge, not just of playing another opponent but it’s just each and every year you have a new team, with new players that you’ve got to build up and build confidence. Ultimately at the end of the day, the goal is not necessarily focused on winning and losing, it’s really just about them becoming the best versions of themselves, and enjoying their experience, specifically with each other.”

“Obviously we want the best lacrosse players, but the type of personality, work ethic and fit is almost more important than necessarily the talent,” she continued. “In an ideal world you have both the talent and the selfless character we’re looking for.”

The Minutewomen will be down in Milton, Georgia for their game with Ohio State this Sunday, March 1 at noon.

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

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