No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse ends regular season with undefeated A-10 record for fourth straight season with win over Duquesne
The 2014 regular season concluded on Sunday in a familiar fashion for the No. 11 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team.
With a 16-8 win over Duquesne in their season finale, the Minutewomen finished the year with their fourth consecutive undefeated Atlantic 10 record, all coming under the watch of fourth-year coach Angela McMahon.
After the game, senior Katie Ferris said that going four years without a conference loss was a special feeling for the University of Massachusetts’ eight seniors.
“Before the game (Sunday) I was giving the team a pep talk and all I said was ‘I don’t want to be on the team that loses the first A-10 game,’” Ferris said. “It means a lot to me, because no one has done it before. We were the first ones.”
On Sunday, the Minutewomen (16-1, 7-0 A-10) were fueled by a trio of three-goal performances from their top three leaders in point scorers in seniors Sam Rush and Ferris, and sophomore Erika Eipp. Seniors Tanner Guarino and Melissa Carelli also added two goals apiece.
“They were focused, they were executing well and they were playing loose,” McMahon said. “I think that they were on a mission to really continue our streak of winning A-10 games.”
UMass took control of the game from early on, posting an 8-2 lead in the opening 12 minutes of play. However, the Dukes went on their own three-goal run to shrink the deficit to 8-5 three minutes into the second half.
“They are an extremely patient and well-disciplined team and were really moving the ball well, which I think kind of wore us down a little bit,” McMahon said. “In that run specifically is where we saw that.”
That would be the closest that Duquesne (14-3, 5-2 A-10) got during the second half, as consecutive goals by Carelli and Eipp stopped the Dukes’ momentum. The Minutewomen finished the game with six of the final nine scores.
“We don’t ever expect to play perfect, but when we do make mistakes, we want to take account of them,” McMahon said. “And I really think that we did a good job of asserting ourselves throughout the game and making sure that even if they went on some sort of run, it wasn’t going to last very long.”
UMass outshot Duquesne 29-18 on Sunday. However, McMahon said that she was more impressed with the team’s scoring efficiency rather than its total shot output.
“We made our shots count,” McMahon said. “I was pretty pleased with shooting over 50 percent.”
In addition, the Minutewomen held a 16-10 advantage in the draw control battle. Freshman Hannah Murphy, starting in her second consecutive game at the face-off position, led the team with six wins for the game.
“The draw control was huge for us (Sunday),” Ferris said. “(Murphy) has really stepped up on the draw and she continues to improve.”
With Sunday’s win, UMass clinched the top seed in the upcoming four-team A-10 Tournament, which starts on May 2. The Minutewomen will face the fourth seeded Dukes once again.
“It’s going to be really competitive,” Ferris said. “I think they are going to be fired up from the loss today and are really going to come at us hard.
The Minutewomen, who have now won 38 straight A-10 games, will look to win their sixth consecutive conference tournament.
Anthony Chiusano can be reached at email@example.com and can be followed on Twitter @a_chiusano24.