A historic season for the No. 16 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team will continue after its 16-8 win over Canisius on Saturday afternoon at McGuirk Stadium.
The Minutewomen, who finished undefeated in Atlantic 10 play for the first time in school history, defeated the Golden Griffins in a NCAA Play-In game meaning and clinched a spot as one of the 16 teams in the NCAA Tournament.
The Minutewomen used a huge second-half surge, stingy defense and a balanced scoring attack to end Canisius’ season with relative ease.
As usual, UMass burst out of the gates scoring the first five goals of the game and forced Golden Griffins coach Scott Teeter to spend a timeout.
The timeout did wonders for Teeter’s team as Canisius went on a run of its own, scoring four straight goals to cut the deficit to one. With just over five minutes remaining UMass coach Angela McMahon called a timeout to aid the wound.
The Minutewomen seemed to have survived the storm as senior Haley Smith threw in a goal to extend the lead, but just minutes later the Golden Griffins scored to cut the deficit back to one going into halftime.
UMass had lost control of the game going into break and McMahon regrouped her team in an attempt to regain the momentum.
The second half was a completely different game as the Minutewomen dominated the Golden Griffins, outscoring them 10-3.
McMahon’s team improved in all facets as it bombarded Canisius goalie Allison Daley with 22 second half shots and played stifling defense by allowing five second half shots.
However, the Golden Griffins did make a small run at the lead in the second half. After seeing the Minutewomen score the first three goals of the half, Canisius scored two of the next three goals to cut UMass’ lead to a manageable three goals with 17 minutes and 32 seconds remaining in the contest.
But the Minutewomen were far too overpowering offensively in the late stages of the game scoring the next five goals and putting the game away for good
Katie Ferris (three goals, two assists), Jackie Lyons (three goals, two assists) and Jesse O’Donnell (three goals, one assists) all chipped in hat tricks for UMass, while Katie Florence stopped four shots in the cage.
Megan Oosting was the only Golden Griffin to score multiple goals, tallying three goals. Daley was solid in goal with 11 saves.
Canisius and UMass were matched up in the play-in game when each team claimed their conference titles. The Golden Griffins (14-6, 5-1 MAAC) won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference when they upset top-seeded Fairfield 13-8. UMass (17-2) capped off a 7-0 season in conference play by beating perennial rival Richmond 16-12 in the A-10 Championship Game.
The Minutewomen will now play the waiting game, as the seeding for the NCAA Tournament will be announced tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m.
Now that they have secured a spot in the NCAA Tournament the Maroon and White will look to emulate the magic they produced in 1982 when they won the school’s only women’s lacrosse national championship.
Jackson Alexander can be reached at email@example.com.