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

Intense Boston College defense stymies UMass women’s lacrosse

Eagles pedigree as top program on display against Minutewomen
Kayla Wong / Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team lost for the first time this season, overwhelmed by one of the best teams in the nation in recent years in Boston College at Fish Field in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, losing 16-6. Many aspects of the game were the complete inverse of what happened in the season opener against UMass Lowell, chief among them a 5-0 third quarter advantage for the Eagles (2-0) compared to the 5-0 third quarter UMass (1-1) had against the River Hawks.

BC, who forced 22 turnovers against a ranked USC team in its previous game, turned UMass over three times in the first six minutes of the second half and maintained a well-coordinated, stifling defense in front of goal throughout the third quarter. UMass recorded three shots and coughed up the ball four times in the period.

“They’re a great defense,” head coach Jana Drummond said. “They’re coached really well by [BC assistant coach] Jen Kent. She does a great job of making in-game adjustments. They slid, they got in the hands of their attackers early and they had pressure.”

The defensive pressure from the Eagles spared no one in UMass’ attack, including Kylee Bowen, whose only point on the day was an assist on a fastbreak to Alex Finn with 10:07 left in the fourth quarter. This performance came on the heels of a seven-goal masterstroke from Bowen in the season opener, another example of the Eagles  flipping  the script.

Bowen had only attempted two shots by the start of the fourth quarter, instead mostly passing around the 12-meter fan with little space to work inside against the well-disciplined Eagles defense.

“They were on [Bowen] very quickly and sent the slide a little bit extra fast too,” Drummond said. “She did a great job of handling that pressure, moving the ball and getting her other teammates to step up there.”

For the second straight game, Drummond put redshirt freshman Catrina Tobin in goal for Gina Carroll at half, despite Carroll making some difficult saves in the first two periods. Tobin made one save in the second half and was subbed out for Carroll with 5:58 to go in the fourth, who finished with six saves.

“Both of them have been doing a phenomenal job in practice [and] in games,” Drummond said on playing both goalies. “They both were top notch players in the last game we had against UMass Lowell. [We’d like to] get them both in there, get that action for two halves, and keep it going.”

Fiona McGowan produced early with two assists to keep the score tight at 2-2 halfway through the first quarter. On both plays, she had time behind goal to pick out a cutting player and unaffectedly distribute perfect passes. But soon after, BC adjusted and took away the ease she had to create offense.

“They started crashing a little bit more behind,” Drummond said. “That moved our offense to playing up top where she was more that low player. That didn’t stop [McGowan]. She worked really hard off-ball, tried to get herself in a good position, and she even had a couple of shots.”

Despite the heavy loss, Drummond said there were several positives to take away from the game to build on, particularly in what the team showed after going down 7-3 in the second quarter. Recent history of the matchup suggested that BC would continue to pull away, but the Minutewomen fought back and scored two goals to pull the deficit a little closer at 7-5 just before the end of the first half.

“They just took care of the current play that was happening,” Drummond said of the second quarter comeback. “They fought for some 50/50 ground balls, they fought for those draw controls. They played really fast and hard and really believed in themselves and I think that was what kept them fighting and chipping away [at the lead].”

As the main point of improvement following the loss, Drummond expressed a desire to see the team play a complete game against quality opponents.

“We did a great job in that first half,” Drummond said. “Now, let’s go out there and finish two halves, and we’ll be just as great as all these teams that we’re seeing out there. What we do with this loss and how we respond is what’s going to impact us and make us go forward.”

The Minutewomen will regroup for a home game against Siena on Feb. 22, scheduled for 2 p.m. at Garber Field.

Jedhi Lee can be reached at [email protected].

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