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May 4, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse wins A-10 title for ninth straight season

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

For the ninth consecutive season, the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team holds the honor of being the best team in the Atlantic-10 conference.

UMass (16-3, 9-0 A-10) beat Richmond 13-12 in the A-10 title game to secure the championship for the 10th time in program history.

With the game deadlocked at 12-12 with under four minutes remaining in regulation, senior midfielder Sarah Crowley took possession of the ball and scored on an impressive end-to-end rush with three minutes, 15 seconds left in the game.  Crowley’s only goal of the contest proved to be the game-winner for the Minutewomen.

“It was super amazing, especially since it wasn’t expected,” Crowley said about her title-clinching goal.

Crowley added an assist and two ground ball controls in the title-win.

Eight different players registered at least a point for UMass.

“Sarah’s been more engaged and did a great job today,” Minutewomen coach Angela McMahon said. “I think she went 80 yards on her goal and she just finished.”

Senior attacker Callie Santos had yet another lights-out performance against the Spiders (14-6, 7-2 A-10) posting five points (four goals and an assist), plus a staggering 10 shots on goal, to pace UMass. Freshman attacker Kaitlyn Cerasi boosted the Minutewomen’s offense tallying one goal and three assists in the high-octane affair. Junior attacker Holly Turner and redshirt sophomore midfielder Kiley Anderson added a pair of goals.

Freshman goalkeeper Lauren Hiller played well in her first conference championship game, making seven saves, including a couple critical stops down the stretch.

“It feels awesome,” McMahon added. “Our backs were up against the wall but we battled through. We always seem to respond and I love that about our team,”

The contest favored Richmond in the opening 30 minutes as the Spiders held the lead over UMass for the majority of the half.

Richmond scored first at 28:51 but Turner tied it less than a minute later. The Spiders responded by going on a run, holding two separate three goal leads through the middle portion of the frame. The Minutewomen would rally back and tie the game 6-6 off of a couple darts from Santos late but Richmond would tack on two more with under a minute left in the half to take a 8-6 lead into intermission over UMass.

The Minutewomen responded with three goals from Santos, Cerasi, and Anderson in the first 10 minutes of the second frame to nullify the Spiders advantage.

“We really just got together at halftime and said we weren’t going to be the team to lose the streak,” Crowley said.

That lead quickly vanished however as Richmond came storming back, scoring four of the next five total goals, to retake the lead at 12-10 with just over 12 minutes left in the game.

UMass would not bow out and again came back with a strong push, scoring the final three goals of the campaign. Crowley’s dazzling clincher completed the comeback for the Minutewomen.

“It’s very special,” Crowley said about earning the title as a senior. “Obviously its super special since I’ll be graduating but it’s also great to keep [the championship streak] going.”

Spider’s attacker Sam Geiersbach finished the matchup with six points coming off of three goals and three assists, the highest point total between both clubs. The loss ended her spectacular season in which she recorded 66 goals on the year (most among any player in the A-10).

“Definitely, without a doubt,” McMahon said when asked if this year’s title-game was one of the more memorable one’s she’s been a part of. “[Richmond’s] a great team, and have great coaches, so we’re happy to come away with the win.”

The Minutewomen will play No. 10 Colorado in the first round of the NCAA tournament Friday, 7 p.m. at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ryan Ames can be reached at rames@umass.edu or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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