Thursday, March 20, 2014
AMHERST — In her first year with the University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team, sophomore transfer attack Erika Eipp picked the right game to have her breakout performance.
The Louisville transfer scored her first four goals of the season to lead No. 10 UMass to an 11-7 victory against Commonwealth-rival Boston University at McGuirk Stadium, Wednesday afternoon.
Eipp was aware of the Minutewomen’s rivalry with the Terriers from the moment she arrived in Amherst.
“The atmosphere here since I came was that when we played BU, battle with them,” Eipp said. “I was taught that right away when I came in.”
UMass coach Angela McMahon credited Eipp as the player who stood out for her team.
“She did fantastic. She was ready to go. She’s one of those players, you know she has ice in her veins all the time and nothing seems to rattle her,” McMahon said. “She’s ready to play no matter when and she stepped up big for us today.”
Eipp helped the Minutewomen (4-0) avenge a 9-8 overtime loss to Boston University last season. Before Wednesday, the last four matchups against the Terriers were decided by no more than two goals. UMass now holds a 13-9 lead in its history with BU that began in 1978.
“It felt great,” Eipp said. “We prepared really well for this game and coming into the game we knew that it was a big one. It was hard-fought, but I’m happy we came out with the win.”
The biggest positive McMahon took from the game was that someone new stepped up again.
“It’s nice to get the wins the way we have. I think us having different people stepping up in every game is what’s going to help us going forward,” McMahon said. “It’s been nice to have that type of success with a balanced attack, it’s been great.”
UMass outshot the Terriers (0-3) 26-14, won the ground-ball battle 18-10 and had more draw controls (14-7).
“I was really proud of a lot of certain people stepping up and getting the possession balls in terms of draws and ground balls. Ultimately that’s why I think we won today,” McMahon said. “Kelsey McGovern, and Kelsey Sheridan really worked today to make sure that those draws were ours.”
The Minutewomen bounced back after allowing two goals to Terriers sophomore midfielder Sofia Robbins (three goals) within the first two minutes of the game.
Sam Rush scored one of her three goals off a free position shot with 12:01 remaining in the first half to cut the deficit in half for the Minutewomen. BU took a 3-1 lead shortly later, but UMass scored four unanswered goals in the next 12 minutes to send the Minutewomen into halftime with a 5-4 lead.
BU’s Kelsey Marafioti (two goals) responded with a game-tying goal in the opening moments of the second half, but the Minutewomen answered and scored four straight goals again.
The run was capped by an unassisted goal from senior attack Katie Ferris, who gave UMass a four-goal lead that became insurmountable for the Terriers in the last 15 minutes.
Ferris, last year’s Atlantic 10 Player of the Year, had a goal and two assists to increase her program record for career points to 266.
Rachel Vallarelli made three saves in the win.
McMahon, the 2013 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, still thought the team needed to improve.
“It’s nice to get the wins, but you know there is a lot of things we still need to work on,” she said. “We were a little sloppy there at the end. We have to make sure we take better control of the ball moving forward.”