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UMass women’s lacrosse draws Jacksonville in first round of 2015 NCAA tournament

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

For the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team, it’s never been the regular season that’s given it difficulty. It’s been the NCAA tournament.

The Minutewomen (18-1, 8-0 Atlantic 10), who clinched an automatic bid in the tournament after clinching the A-10 championship Sunday in an 8-4 win over Richmond, will play Jacksonville in the first round Friday at 4 p.m. in State Park, Maryland.

UMass hasn’t won a tournament game since the 2013 season, when it defeated Connecticut in the first round. The Minutewomen are 1-6 in their last seven NCAA tournament games dating back to 2009.

But UMass coach Angela McMahon said she believes this year’s team is different and is happy with where the Minutewomen are entering the tournament.

“I’m very confident in the team right now,” McMahon said. “I’m so proud of the way they’ve come together and how they’ve been working together.

“Just seeing them on the field winning (the A-10 championship Sunday) was a really special moment for me and I couldn’t be more proud.”

The Dolphins (17-2, 7-0 Atlantic Sun) come into the matchup with a drastically different style of play as they are the third-highest scoring offense in the country, averaging 16 goals per game. In contrast, the Minutewomen own the nation’s second best scoring defense which allowed 5.39 goals against per game.

One of these will have to give Friday, as the winner will move on to play top-seeded Maryland Sunday, May 10.

Andrew Cyr can be reached at arcyr@umass.edu, and followed on Twitter Andrew_Cyr.

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