Women’s lacrosse notebook: UMass falls to Princeton 15-9 in NCAA Tournament

Minutewomen unable to overcome strong Tigers defense

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Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian

By Sophie Weller, Collegian Staff

The UMass women’s lacrosse team’s season came to a close on Friday. After making the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year, UMass fell to Princeton in the opening round, 15-9.

Princeton’s Sam Fish causes trouble in net

Sam Fish was recognized as the best goalkeeper in the Ivy League with an all-conference first team selection. With her awards and impressive statistics, UMass knew that she was going to be tough to beat between the posts. In the first quarter and despite the Minutewomen getting shots off, Fish was able to quickly pick them up or knock the ball away. UMass’ first goal of the day came later in the frame after Julia Smith found Maddy Moloney in the middle and she tucked it away.

At the start of the second quarter, Amy Moreau charged down the field and fired a low shot towards Fish, but she got her stick down and was able to block it and used her height to grab the ball out of the air and avoid a second chance effort by UMass. However, as she ran behind the net, looking for an open teammate, the Minutewomen were able to knock it away and cause a turnover. Moments later, they were awarded their first free position shot of the day, and Kelly Marra fired it off, but Fish used her foot to knock the ball away and prevent the goal.

Her efforts continued throughout the remainder of the game, making a huge stop in the fourth quarter and continuing to stand strong in the net despite UMass trying everything to score. Her steady presence made every save look effortless.

UMass employing zone defense

As the Tigers offensive players crossed the restraining line, the Minutewomen’s defense swarmed in, applying full coverage and putting themselves in a position to crowd the others surrounding the circle. Throughout the entire first quarter, out of the six goals scored by Princeton, only two came from free-flowing offense while the others were free-position shots.

Throughout the game, despite establishing a strong defensive presence, the Tigers offense was too powerful to stop. Kyla Sears lead the way, ending the game with four goals, while fellow teammates Kate Mulham and Grace Tauckus each scored three.

Ups and Downs in the fourth

 With the final 15 minutes lighting up the scoreboard, UMass knew that it had to do whatever it took to get the ball in the back of the net and aim to erase the deficit and started taking risks. After Gina Carroll scooped up the ball in the defensive end, she heaved it down the field, finding Brinley Anderson, who beat a pair of Princeton defenders to the ball and pushed towards the net with it. While Anderson was unable to score on the play, it was indicative of the change in playstyle that UMass aimed to deploy.

The high risk efforts also left the Minutewomen vulnerable, and they made a costly mistake in the final frame, providing Sears with a breakaway, and she tucked it away for her fourth of the night and increased Princeton’s lead to five. The errors would continue after Jordan Dean won the draw control, but threw the ball away into the stick of a Tiger midfielder. From there, it was all downhill as Princeton continued to tally up the points and claim the win.

Sophie Weller can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @SophieeWellerr.