Feb. 19, 2010
STORRS, Conn. - It is the earliest start to the spring season for the University of Connecticut lacrosse season when the Huskies host UMass on Saturday at 1 p.m. For the second-consecutive season, the Huskies open the year at home at George J. Sherman-Family Sports Complex.
Much of the preseason was spent building upon the lessons learned under then first-year head coach Angela McMahon and blending a group of 16 new comers with a set of 15 returners on the 2010 roster. McMahon, together with assistants Melynda Zwick and Caitlin Jackson believe that UConn is ready to move forward and is more than prepared for what lies ahead this year.
This includes reigning A10 champion and NCAA Tournament participants, UMass on Saturday. A few faces will be familiar to the Huskies despite having not faced the Minutewomen in the regular season since 2004. Zwick spent four seasons with the UMass lacrosse squad and McMahon was one of her coaches for two seasons. In addition, the two teams scrimmaged in the fall.
The Minutewomen (1-1) opened the year on the road in the WomensLax.com Surfside Cup in California with a game against the five-time National Champion Northwestern. UMass suffered a 18-6 loss at the heads of the reigning champions in the season-opener. A 15-6 victory over Holy Cross marked the home opener for UMass on Wednesday with Jesse O'Donell leading the way, scoring a career-high five goals.
This is will be the first of two regular-season games against an A10 opponent for the Huskies as they are scheduled to face St. Bonaventure on March 19. UConn trails UMass in the all-time series (3-4) and is 5-8 against eight members of the A10 conference, having faces five since the program's inception in 1997.
UConn welcomes the return of two of its leading scorers who will undoubtedly use their rookie season lessons to increase their impact on the field this season. Sophomores M.E. Lapham (Cazenovia, N.Y.) and Kiersten Tupper (Camillus, N.Y.) accumulated 89 combined points a season ago. Tupper led all with 51 points from 22 goals and a team-best 29 assists. Lapham was second on the team with 30 goals while adding eight assists in the 2009 season.
The two will lead the Husky attack along with redshirt senior Ashley Mitchelides (Hudson, Ohio) and senior Katie Devaney (Fayetteville, N.Y.). Together Mitchelides and Devaney, along with redshirt junior Lauren Sparks (West Chester, Pa.), will serve as the 2010 team captains. Sparks looks to make a strong return to the midfield after sitting out last season.
McMahon expects great things from junior Jessica Mucci (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.) on defense while senior Jenna Moutlon (East Rochester, N.Y.) looks to cap off her collegiate career with a strong season in the cage. Mucci and Moulton will lead a youthful group on the defensive side of things.
The Huskies, who wrapped up the 2009 slate with a 3-13 overall record, look to get things started on the right foot on Saturday at 1 p.m. An autograph session will follow the season-opening game at Sherman while the first 50 fans will receive a FREE hat.