UMass’ defense dominant in 20-7 win over VCU

Kendra Harbinger and Kelly Marra both score hat tricks

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Sophie-Zoe Schreyer/ Daily Collegian

By Corinne Arel, Collegian Staff

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team returned home after five away games and was able to bring its streak to six-straight with a 20-7 victory over Virginia Commonwealth.

The Minutewomen (9-2) had a strong mid game on Friday, scoring six of their 20 goals in the second period. After Maddy Maloney scored the seventh for the game, Kendra Harbinger scored both the eighth — with an assist from Julia Smith — and the ninth goal for UMass, earning Harbinger a hat trick with her goal from the first period.

“This week we’ve been focusing on a lot of assisted goals, and I think we did a good job executing those today,” Harbinger said reflecting on the Minutewomen’s performance in the game.

VCU (5-5) scored its first goal of the game in the second period by Casey Murray after Sarah Jones took control of the ball. The Rams continued to score three goals in a row with Autumn Kash earring the fourth goal of the game.

After that streak, the Minutewomen scored three goals in a row as well, with Haley Connaughton scoring the first of those three goals. Harbinger went on to score the 12th goal and assisted Kelly Marra with the 13th and final goal of the first half.

Ending the first half of the game at 13-4, the Minutewomen’s defense continued to shine in the third period alongside Gina Carroll’s several saves.

Amy Moreau quickly drew control in the beginning of the second half and Smith scored the 14th goal for UMass.

Defender Brinley Anderson and Courtney Barrett kept VCU out of the 12th meter fan after Mason Whitemore took control for the Rams.

With a free position attempt for VCU after Barrett was given a foul, Carroll had an impressive double save. Even after falling on her back from an aggressive first save, she stopped the second of the two shots from the ground.

Quickly after her first double save sequence Carroll caused a turnover and continued to save another two shots in the third quarter, one of the two also being from the ground.

“Gina’s very athletic. She’s a great leader and is going to always put her body on the line for her team,” head coach Angela McMahon-Serpone said. “Whether it’s diving for loose balls out of bounds, coming up with these crazy saves, she’s always going to max out every time she’s on the field.”

After a VCU time out, Barrett and Quinn Daly continued to keep the Rams out of the fan line area. Moreau drew control for the second time in the third period and Olivia Muscella scored the 16th goal for the Minutewomen with Smith’s assist.

“I thought they were really feisty and ruthless and pressuring the ball,” McMahon-Serpone said about defense. “There’s just a lot of experience down there so we rely on them from their aggressiveness to really set the tone for us going the other way.”

With Carroll’s multiple save sequences and strong defensive play, the Rams only scored one goal in the third period, going into the final period with a score of 16-5.

The Minutewomen took the win with a 20-7 finish after Charlotte Clavelli scored the final goal with an assist from Tessa Shields.

The Minutewomen are set to play George Mason University (3-8) on Sunday, April 3 at noon.

Corinne Arel can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @CorinneArel_09.