Cats keep firing from all cylinders

With the final games of the season approaching, the women’s lacrosse team is finding success in their fight for a top seed in the America East Tournament.

Junior attackman Jess Roach said senior Sydney Mas and sophomore Vanessa VanderZalm are two players that have stood out and helped in this fight.

“Mas and VanderZalm have been huge contributors to the team offensively this season, while [junior defender] Taylor Pedersen has helped lead the defense. Our attackers feed off Sydney’s confidence in her ability to take on any defender,” Roach said.

She said VanderZalm’s “work ethic” and “never ending hustle” have had a major impact on the field as well.

Pedersen has also “stepped up” as a “huge leader” this year by supporting the defense to work together as a “single unit,” she said.

Mas is currently the leading goal scorer in UVM women’s lacrosse history, according to UVM athletics.

This season she’s helped the offense outscore their opponents 212-129. The senior currently leads the team with 59 points.

In addition to Mas’ team and conference best of 51 goals she also holds one of the highest scoring percentages in the league, according to UVM athletics.

Her success started in 2011 when she was voted America East Rookie of the Year, after setting a first-year scoring record of 55 goals in just 16 games.

Since then, she’s scored more than 50 goals and earned more than 60 points each season, cementing her status as one of the most consistent offensive weapons in team history, according to UVM athletics.

Head coach Jen Johnson said she is aware of the “vital role” Mas has played during her career.

When asked about the “wide skill set” Mas brings to the team Johnson said “[Her] leadership, competitiveness, creativity and skill.”

“She is a humble and selfless player who makes those around her better,” she said.

Since Mas’ first year she has always “strived to improve” her game and will do “whatever it takes” to win, Johnson said.

There are certain aspects of the game that senior attackman Samantha Gallerani said the team need to improve on to in order to keep winning.

“We need to be consistent between the cages for a full 60 minutes. Whether [it’s] during draws, groundballs or on defense, Gallerani said.

She went on to say that it is important to have “strong communication.”

“If we execute the basics in practice and in games than the score board will be in our favor,” Gallerani said.

Roach said she thinks the key to success will be having “100 percent effort for a full 60 minutes.”

“If we play at our fullest potential we will be able to succeed,” she said. “We’ve been learning from past mistakes and plan on taking it one game at a time.”

Despite that this is her final season, Mas said she is confident the team will still “possess the pieces” to remain a “top-level” threat in the conference.

“I think they [the team] need to continue what they’re doing. I hear we have some good first-years coming in, but also there’s so many people that have a ton of potential on this team,” she said.

Some of Mas’ confidence for future seasons comes from VanderZalm and Roach, who Mas said are “a force to be reckoned with.”

“Me leaving may fire some people up to take my spot and do some scoring,” she said.

Their next game will be away against Boston College April 16.