Looking back on the Minutewomen’s season

By Nick Bellofatto

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Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

The University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team captured the Atlantic 10 regular season crown on Sunday with a 14-4 victory over conference foe Richmond.

After opening the season against nine non-conference opponents (7-2), the Minutewomen began conference play on March 31 against Temple, a game which UMass won, 12-9. The Minutewomen then cruised to five-straight victories, winning each game by at least 4 goals.

The tournament will be held in two weeks at Temple University in Philadelphia.

UMass will go for a 7-0 conference record on April 23, when it travels to Philadelphia, Penn. for its final regular season game against Saint Joseph’s. With one game left and the Minutewomen already crowned the A-10 Champions, it is important to remember how they got here.

In the aforementioned conference-opening game against Temple, the Minutewomen were caught in a close game but managed to pull out a 12-9 win. After that, UMass went on to win five consecutive conference games against La Salle, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure, George Washington and Richmond, respectively.

Against La Salle, the Minutewomen put together an impressive 17-4 victory. Many would agree that this was simply an offensive explosion for UMass, but it was really the Minutewomen’s defense that clamped down and held the Explorers scoreless for the final 45 minutes of the game.

UMass then returned home to take on conference opponent Duquesne at McGuirk Stadium. The Minutewomen won the small statistical battles in that game, such as the draw controls, which will prove invaluable come the A-10 tournament.

After beating the Dukes, 13-6, the Minutewomen headed to St. Bonaventure two days later for their fourth conference match of the season. The Bonnies were the Minutewomen’s seventh-straight road win, as they defeated them, 16-10. Not only did this victory keep the Minutewomen perfect on the road (7-0), it also kept them perfect in the conference (4-0).

To that point, UMass’ victories came in a variety of ways.

At Temple, it was a large lead that the Minutewomen would not squander at the end of the game. At La Salle, it was a clamping defense that did not allow a goal after the 15-minute mark in the first half. Against Duquesne, it was a combination of the little statistical categories, which came together to create a big win. Against St. Bonaventure, it was a five-goal outing from Katie Ferris, and hat-tricks from three other Minutewomen, which kept the Bonnies at bay.

In its next game, UMass took on George Washington, and Jackie Lyons scored her 200th career point in a 21-6 blowout. With the win, the Minutewomen clinched a spot in the four-team A-10 tournament. It wasn’t until their next game, a victory over Richmond, that the Minutewomen would clinch the regular season title and be granted the No. 1 seed in the tournament.

The Richmond game was also senior day and tri-captain Jackie Lyons’ birthday. The Minutewomen would not be denied the No. 1 seed, as Lyons led the scorers with two goals and two assists. Her four total points helped UMass to a 14-4 victory.

Following the win, UMass honored the three seniors on the team, Jackie Lyons, Haley Smith and Nazy Kerr, who have each been instrumental to the team’s accomplishments this season. The Minutewomen are now looking to three-peat in the A-10 tournament and once again reach the NCAA tournament.

Nicholas Bellofatto can be reached at [email protected]