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Collegian: @UMassLacrosse thriving with nation's top defense

Andrew Cyr of the Daily Collegian has a feature looking at the make-up of the UMass women's lacrosse team's defense which is currently ranked as the top unit in the nation. Anchoring the back line is goalie Rachel Vallarelli who is off to her best season ever and is an All-American candidate in goal.

Incoming women's lacrosse freshman Morgan Walker of Glastonbury High School was tabbed The Courant's Player of the Year over the weekend.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: After back-to-back losses in the semifinals the last two seasons, she helped lead Glastonbury (15-5) to the first state championship appearance in program history. The Tomahawks came up short to Greenwich, 12-10, in the Division L final. ... A tri-captain, she played all 20 games with 28 goals and 24 assists. Averaged 1.4 goals per game and 2.6 points per game. ... Scored three or more goals in a game five times. ... Had eight goals and one assist during Glastonbury's tournament run to the championship. ... A U.S. Lacrosse High School All American and All-CCC North selection. ... Four year letter-winner and three-year starter.

WALKER SAID: "I just try to play the game like I know how to play it and practicing and working hard has always paid off for me. Stats are not on my priority list. I don't even know how many goals I had this year. I think being a leader on the team is just as important. Ever since we made to the semifinals as sophomores we wanted to make it the finals, so [this season] had been in the works for a while. ... My size [5 feet 2] has always been a thing; people have always said she is so small. But all the coaches I have talked to always said 'you've always made yourself big.'"

Morgan Walker