March 23, 2009

First-Ever Night Game In McGuirk as UMass Hosts No.  1 Northwestern

from press release

  • Tonight will be the first-ever game under the new lights for the UMass women's lacrosse team as the four-time defending national champion and top-ranked Northwestern Wildcats visit Amherst for the first time since 1989. The Minutewomen enter the game with a 3-5 record, while Northwestern is a perfect 9-0.
  • The game is a reunion of UMass head coach Alexis Venechanos and associate head coach Acacia Walker with their former boss Northwestern coach Kelly Amonte Hiller. Venechanos helped the Wildcats to NCAA titles in 2005 and 2006, while Walker helped them to titles in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

The Series

  • This will be the eighth all-time meeting between the two programs with Northwestern holding a 6-1 advantage in the all-time series. This will be just the third time ever that Northwestern has visited Amherst. This will also be the third consecutive year, each season Venechanos has been head coach, that the two programs have met after the series was discontinued following the 1989 season.

Scouting UMass

  • UMass (3-5) is led by the trio of Jackie Lyons, Holly Drown and Haley Smith who have combined for 43 of UMass' 70 goals. Lyons leads all scorers with 17 goals and five assists, while Drown has scored in every game this season. Smith has nine points in the last two games (8g, 1a) and netted a career high six goals in the win over Stony Brook. The Minutewomen are averaging 8.75 goals per game, while allowing 11.6 per outing. Over the last five games UMass has been more consistent offensively averaging 10.8 goals. Katie Florence has played every minute in goal for the Minutewomen sporting an 11.62 goals against average and a .462 save percentage. 

Next Up: at La Salle

  • UMass opens Atlantic 10 play on Friday afternoon at La Salle in Philadelphia. Game time is set for 3 PM. The Minutewomen are a perfect 11-0 all-time against the Explorers who enter the week with a 3-3 record. UMass won last season's meeting 20-11.

Last Time Out: UMass 10, #13 UNH 13

  • No. 13 New Hampshire used a 10-goal second half to escape the upset-minded UMass women's lacrosse team, 13-10, last Wednesday afternoon at Memorial Field. The Minutewomen held an 8-3 lead at halftime, but the Wildcats (6-2) came out strong in the second half and closed the game with a five-goal run over the last 11 minutes. 
  • UMass freshman goalie Katie Florence made 17 saves, just one shy of her career-high, in the loss. Senior Holly Drown and sophomore Jackie Lyons both netted three goals to lead the Minutewomen. 
  • Sarah Von Bargen, the nation's second leading scorer overall, netted four goals in the game - three of which were in the second half. Ashley Durepo also had a four-point game with three goals and an assist. Nikki Hume started the game but was lifted after making just three saves and allowing eight goals in the first half. Kate Gunts earned the win making two saves. 
  • The game was a tale of two halves as UMass controlled play in the first half scoring eight goals despite being outshot 17-to-13. In the second half, however, New Hampshire took control of the game with advantages in shots (21-to-7), groundballs (12-to-5) and turnovers (16-to-3).

Tough Non-Conference Slate

  • Five of UMass' first nine games will be against nationally ranked opponents including No. 1 and four-time defending National Champion Northwestern. vs. #1 Northwestern

at #6 Maryland
at #10 Boston University
vs. #13 Dartmouth
at #13 New Hampshire


Iron Women

  • Despite having so many newcomers in 2009, Venechanos has several veteran players who have a wealth of game experience to share. Jackie Rosenzweig has started all 61 consecutive games of her career on defense. Merritt Cosgrove has 43 straight starts in the midfield, while Holly Drown and Meghan Reddy each have over 50 career games in the midfield and on attack.

Lyons Having Offensive Breakout

  • Sophomore midfielder Jackie Lyons has surpassed her total number of goals scored from her freshman season just eight games into 2009. Lyons, an A-10 All-Rookie selection in 2008 has 17 goals to date and 22 points on the season.

`Flo' Off To Good Start In Goal

  • Despite the tough start to the year, freshman netminder Katie "Flo" Florence has had some strong efforts in cage, most notably her 18-save effort in the win over Harvard and her 17-save effort in the loss at New Hampshire. She has played every minute so far in her young career posting a 11.62 goals-against-average, 80 saves, and a .462 save percentage.

Drown Getting Back On Track

  • After a down season in the scoring column last year, senior captain Holly Drown has scored in every game this season, surpassing her goal and point totals from 2007 in just 8 games. In 2007 she had her best offensive season with 35 goals and six assists. Drown also leads the team in draw controls this year and holds the single-season record with 44 DC's in 2007.

Quartet Of Hat Tricks

  • Four different Minutewomen have posted hat tricks this season season. Jackie Lyons leads the team with three, while Holly Drown and Haley Smith each have two.Stephanie Hopkins is the fourth player to post a hat trick this season. In their last outing at New Hampshire, both Drown and Lyons tallied three goals each.

Rookies Making An Impact

  • UMass has 14 newcomers on the roster this season and several have made immediate impacts on the team. Alongside Katie Florence in goal, Brittany Brigandi,Riley Perry, Jesse O'Donnell, and Ali Houlis have jumped into the lineup from the beginning. In all, UMass Rookies have scored 13 of UMass' 90 points.

Chart Watching

  • With 69 career caused turnovers, Jackie Rosenzweig now ranks fifth all-time at UMass as one of the top defe nsive players in program history. Holly Drown continues to be a force in the draw control circle as her 90 career DC's ranks fourth all-time.

UMass Picked 2nd In A-10 Preseason Coaches Poll

  • UMass was picked to finish second in the Atlantic 10 Conference Preseason Coaches Poll, which was released in January. The Minutewomen finished last season on a strong note by making an A-10 Tournament appearance and upsetting No. 1-seed Richmond in the semifinals before falling to Temple in the Championship Game. This is the second consecutive year that UMass has been picked second in the preseason coaches poll.

2009 Predicted Order Of Finish

(2008 A-10/Overall record in parentheses)
1. Richmond (6-1/9-9)
2. Massachusetts (4-3/7-11)
3. Temple (6-1/13-7)
4. Duquesne (5-2/8-9)
5. George Washington (3-4/5-11)
6. Saint Joseph's (2-5/7-9)
7. St. Bonaventure (2-5/4-10)
8. La Salle (0-7/1-15)



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