On Friday afternoon, a late comeback attempt by the Minutewomen (7-7, 4-1 A-10) came up short as they fell in a closely-contested game to the Dukes (7-7, 2-2 A-10) at Rooney Field.
Scoring in the first half went back-and-forth with the two teams going on runs to make it a 7-6 game heading into halftime.
To begin the second half, the Dukes extended their lead quickly with another three-goal run. Meghan Frederick tallied a pair of goals while McNish added her third score to give her a hat trick on the day.
In an attempt to even the score, Jackie Lyons scored twice and Jesse O’Donnell chipped in a goal, but goals mixed in by Frederick and Katie Rekart kept the Duquesne lead at 12-9 with fewer than 10 minutes remaining.
Down the stretch, both defenses limited opportunities for the opposition as Duquesne was able to keep the UMass attack at bay. The Minutewomen finally got back on the board with a Riley Perry goal with two minutes, 36 seconds remaining to make it a two-goal game, but were unable to score again despite having five more shots.
Dukes goalkeeper Sara Beckstead made three saves in the final 1:48 and stopped eight shots on the day to seal the 12-10 win for Duquesne. Katie Florence also made eight saves and took the loss in goal for UMass.
Lyons led UMass on offense with three goals and two assists for her fifth hat trick of the season. Along with McNish, Rekart tallied three goals while Frederick scored five to round out the Dukes attack.
Despite dropping their first A-10 game against Duquesne, the Minutewomen rebounded on Sunday afternoon to defeat St. Bonaventure, 11-6. The game was the first at McGuirk Alumni Stadium since March 10 against Yale.
The Bonnies (7-7, 2-3 A-10) took an early 1-0 lead as Danielle Drabin scored her 32nd goal of the season nearly three minutes into the contest. The UMass defense, however, shut down St. Bonaventure for the rest of the period as the Minutewomen attack scored the remaining four goals to take a 4-1 lead into halftime.
After Stephanie Hopkins and Danielle Pelletier scored back-to-back goals, the Bonnies responded with two goals to make it a 6-4 game. UMass continued to push the lead with three scores from Pelletier, Lyons and Nina Sarcona in the span of 71 seconds with 17:08 remaining.
Scoring was limited the rest of the game as the Minutewomen clamped down on defense to earn the 11-6 victory. Florence recorded the win in goal, making seven saves, while Tori Waheibi made 13 stops for St. Bonaventure.
Pelletier and Lyons led the UMass attack with Pelletier scoring four goals, tying a career-high which she set earlier this season. Lyons led all players with seven points on three goals and four assists, placing her sixth all-time at UMass for career assists with 46.
“I’m really proud of the courage our team showed,” UMass coach Alexis Venechanos said after the game. “They had a couple runs, we had a couple runs, and at the end I thought we did what we needed to win.”
The Minutewomen will be at home next weekend with games against Saint Joseph’s on Friday and La Salle on Sunday. The contest against the Explorers will be Senior Day for UMass.
Jay Asser can be reached at email@example.com.