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

Massachusetts women’s lacrosse relies on veterans through first three games

Fourth-year and fifth-year players have scored nearly 90 percent of the Minutewomen’s goals
Collegian File Photo

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has leaned on its 13 senior and graduate students over the first three games to start the season. They are responsible for 34 of the 41 total goals this year and are a definite bright spot despite the 1-2 start.

On the opposite end of the field, grad student Lauren Hiller is in her final season with the Minutewomen (1-2) after receiving starting goalie honors since her freshman year in 2017. Caitlyn Petro, the redshirt senior and draw control savant, has been steady as ever in her role and has already drawn praise from head coach Angela McMahon.

In the season opener, UMass’ veterans contributed 19 of the 23 goals in the 23-13 onslaught of Boston University. Senior attacker Haley Connaughton led all scorers with five goals and four assists and had another strong showing in Chestnut Hill against Boston College. Fifth-year midfielder Stephanie Croke was her partner in crime those two games, scoring three and two goals, respectively.

Even when that pair simultaneously came back to Earth during Sunday’s 12-11 overtime heartbreaker against UConn (4-1), senior Kelly Marra stepped up and scored four of her own. There’s a wealth of experienced players and scorers for the Minutewomen, a luxury that coach McMahon doesn’t want to become overly reliant on.

“Ultimately, we want to be balanced and we want to have multiple scoring threats,” McMahon said. “If we just focus on a handful of players it makes us really easy to scout. We’re just trying to uplift others.”

That’s where having 10 seniors on the team, all with an extra year of availability, is encouraging for both the remainder of this year and the younger players moving forward.

Throughout the first three games, the Minutewomen have already seen promising flashes of younger players that will eventually have to fill the void when some of the eldest are no longer eligible or decline to play in their fifth year. In the opener, it was 5-foot-7 sophomore Alex Finn who went for a hat trick. Against UConn, junior attacker Maddy Moloney led the Minutewomen with four points and three goals, including a clutch shot to force overtime.

McMahon emphasized that encouraging the players who are awaiting their opportunity to shine is a prominent focus for the team, and they will likely start to emerge and have notable impacts as the team gets settled in.

“COVID and some of the shutdowns and things like that sometimes makes that process a little bit slower,” she said. “But they’re so talented and they’re up and coming. They work so hard in practice, I definitely think as we progress through this season, you are going to see more names sprinkling the stat sheet for sure.”

UMass will have a chance to even their record at 2-2 on Wednesday’s home-opener against UMass Lowell (1-2) at 8 p.m. A rematch with UConn is set for Saturday.

Dylan Corey can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @thedylancorey.

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