No. 14 UMass women’s lacrosse season ends in loss to Loyola (MD)
NEWTON — And just like that, the season was over.
The No. 14 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team fell to No. 12 Loyola Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament by a score 10-4 on Friday, putting an end to the Minutewomen’s 2014 campaign.
With the end of the season comes the end of an era for UMass, as it retires a senior class that holds eight different school records and led the team to four straight Atlantic 10 conference championships, including its most successful season since 1984.
The Minutewomen (18-2) certainly wanted the season to last longer than it did, but senior defender Kelsey McGovern said when looking back on the season, they take in the good as well as the bad.
“I think we take it in strides, in terms of, we had success within our conference,” she said. “Just unfortunately in (the NCAA Tournament), we just didn’t connect and make things go our way.”
The Greyhounds (15-5) jumped out to an early lead, scoring two unanswered goals in the first six minutes. But UMass fought back, scoring back and forth with Loyola and going into halftime trailing just 4-3.
But the second half belonged to the Greyhounds, as they outscored the Minutewomen 6-1 in the second frame to run away with the victory. Coach Angela McMahon said UMass’ play in the second half was too sloppy to come away with the win over a tough opponent like Loyola.
“We just turned the ball over a little bit too much, and again, some of our shots weren’t falling,” she said. “We can’t shoot that way in the NCAA Tournament and expect to win a game.”
The Greyhounds’ defense gave the Minutewomen fits throughout the game. UMass was held to four goals on 22 shots and converted on none of its nine free position shot opportunities. Loyola goalkeeper Molly Wolf saved 10 shots to earn the win.
Katie Ferris, who finished with six shots (none of which scored) and five turnovers, said the Greyhounds’ defense was difficult to handle.
“It was pretty tough. Their defense was more high-pressure and a different style than we’ve seen in our past games, so it was something we needed to adjust to,” she said. “We started to a little bit, and then we started to turn the ball over. We just didn’t get into any groove today.”
Loyola was led offensively by Hannah Schmitt, who scored three goals and an assist. Sydney Thomas and Annie Thomas also added two goals and two assists each for the Greyhounds.
McMahon praised the Loyola offense for how dynamic it was, and said its constant pressure was able to wear out the UMass defense.
“The type of defense that we play, it’s high-pressure, and if we’re playing too much of it, we’re going to get a little tired, and I think that kind of wore us out a little bit as things went on, and that created some openings for them, and they were able to finish and capitalize on them.”
The only multi-goal scorer for the Minutewomen was Sam Rush, who finished with two goals to break her own single-season goals record, finishing the season with 67 goals.
Despite the loss, McMahon said she was proud of her team for giving it’s all right to the finish.
“We fought hard for the full 60 minutes,” she said. “All over the field we were working our butts off right to the end, so I’m very proud of the team for that aspect of it.”
Jesse Mayfield-Sheehan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and can be followed on Twitter @jgms88.