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

Rampant first half offense gives UMass women’s lacrosse14-9 win against Brown

UMass holds strong in fourth to survive Bears’ comeback attempt
Shilpa Sweth/ Daily Collegian (2023)

Just as it had the game prior against Richmond, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team used a red hot first half performance to beat Brown on a snowy and windy Tuesday evening in Rhode Island.

The Minutewomen (7-1, 1-0 Atlantic 10) jumped to a 5-0 lead in the first quarter, taking advantage of several miscues by Brown (3-3), which included a turnover in its defensive area and back-to-back fouls that found the Bears two players down at once, both of which led to UMass goals.

The lead ballooned to 9-2 with 4:24 to go in the second quarter when Fiona McGowan, from the center of the attacking area, found Lauren Tolve in front of goal for one of her four assists.

“It’s [about] communicating and staying connected while being patient with the ball,” UMass coach Jana Drummond said on the offensive efficiency in the first half. “I thought they did a great job executing.”

Drummond kept referring to patience as the key to victory against the Bears, in no small part due to the inclement weather in Providence. Thick, heavy snowfall and 20 mile per hour winds affected play for all 60 minutes of game time. The Minutewomen had already played several games in wet and windy conditions this season, but Tuesday evening saw the most extreme of those to date, and the team had to adjust accordingly.

“We were talking about short passes and being really patient with finding the best luck that we could see out there,” Drummond said. “With that weather, it was really important that we were staying in tight, not going too far and trying to make too many skip passes.”

Along with strategic changes, Drummond also placed importance on having a gritty mentality while playing through suboptimal weather. “This is a battle,” she said. “This is where we need to step up when we have weather that’s out of our control. It is cold, but we have to embrace it because the other team is under the same conditions.”

The emphasis on patience while still being assertive offensively worked well for the Minutewomen, as they kept up their scoring numbers while recording a season-low six turnovers.

Fiona McGowan in particular paid no mind to the snow and wind, recording a hat trick to go with her four assists to lead the attack. Time and again, McGowan found open players for high percentage shots, and when Brown took those passes away, she took defenders on with ease to give herself a chance at goal.

McGowan demonstrated her command of situational plays as well; with time ticking down in the first half and UMass two players up, she took as much time off the clock as possible before making the decisive pass to Lauren Tolve, who scored with 3.5 seconds left.

“[McGowan’s] just so smart,” Drummond said. “She knows how to read the defense, she knows how to stay calm under pressure. With her ability to dodge, it’s a very impressive combination.”

Things did get tougher for the Minutewomen later in the game. Despite scoring 11 goals in the first half, UMass managed just three in the second, and allowed Brown to inch closer on a four goal run to make the score 13-9.

The Minutewomen struggled all day on draw controls, losing that battle by a 17-10 margin, and Brown’s ability to win on the draws contributed to their second half scoring run. However, UMass recovered defensively and held the Bears scoreless in the final 10 and a half minutes to get the win.

“The coaching point was focusing on ‘play-by-play’ and not thinking too far ahead,” Drummond said on how the team finished off the game. “This play right now is what we’re focused on; nothing in the past, nothing in the future, we just need to execute and do what we do as UMass.”

UMass will complete its two game road trip with a matchup against George Washington on Saturday, March 18. The opening draw is scheduled for 12 p.m.

Jedhi Lee can be reached at [email protected].

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