Women’s lax dominate weekend

By Jackson Alexander

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

For the second straight week, the No. 15 Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team won a pair of Atlantic 10 games over the weekend as the Minutewomen took down both George Washington and Richmond to seal the A-10 regular season title.

This means that UMass (13-2, 6-0 A-10) has clinched the No. 1 seed for A-10 tournament, which begins in two weeks.

On Sunday, a trio of UMass seniors featuring Jackie Lyons, Nazy Kerr and Haley Smith celebrated their senior day by anchoring a 14-4 victory over Richmond.

Attackers Smith and Lyons contributed offensively as they teamed up to score the first three goals of the game for the Minutewomen. Lyons finished the game with two goals and two assists, while Smith also chipped in a pair of goals.

Meanwhile, Kerr, the lone senior on defense, anchored a defense that allowed just four goals, a total that tied a season-low for the team.

“I have to give huge props to our defense today, our defense played outstanding,” said head coach Angela McMahon. “That was the best performance from our defense the whole season.”

The Minutewomen limited the Spiders to just four first half shots. Richmond didn’t attempt a shot until less than seven minutes remained in the first half.

“I’m just really impressed with our defense,” said McMahon. “[From] top to bottom, their aggression, coming up with loose balls, and really denying them any good opportunities in front of the net.”

UMass, as usual, started off hot and strung together a barrage of goals to take a 4-0 lead just ten minutes into the game. This forced Richmond coach Stephy Samaras Mantziaras to call a timeout and settle her rattled team. But the Spiders were unable to weather the storm as UMass went on to score four more goals and extend their lead to 8.

Richmond’s Gabi Wiegand finally scored the team’s first goal of the game nearly 24 minutes into the contest. The Minutewomen took any momentum gained by the Spiders when they scored three straight goals, making the halftime score 11-1.

With a large lead and the game seemingly out of reach, the Minutewomen slowed the pace to a crawl in the second half. Neither team could find an offensive rhythm until Richmond finally put together a 3-0 run, but it was too little too late as UMass cruised to an easy victory.

Lyons, Smith, Dayna Defliese and Katie Ferris had two goals each and paced a balanced attack that saw 10 different Minutewomen score.

“We still have a lot of different scorers every game, and that’s going to help us going forward in terms of being dynamic, and not one person can by shut down because we can still score,” said McMahon.

UMass goalkeeper Katie Florence logged her 13th win of the season, allowing just four goals, and making seven saves in the cage.

Richmond looked uncomfortable on offense without their All-American midfielder Mary Flowers, who was sidelined due to an injury. Caitlin Fifield, who scored two goals, was the only Spider with a multi-goal game.

Despite allowing 14 goals, Richmond goalie Victoria Roebuck played a solid game in net, stopping ten shots.

On Friday, the Minutewomen used a gigantic offensive first half to overpower George Washington, 21-6. UMass outscored the Colonials, 15-3, in the first half and dominated the game in all facets.

Lyons had three goals and two assists en route to another milestone. She scored her 200th point in her career on Friday, and became just the third player in Massachusetts women’s lacrosse history to reach that milestone.

Freshman Katie Ferris led the team with four goals, while Cori Murray, Smith, Lauren Terracciano, and Nina Sarcona all added hat tricks.

UMass had more shots (39-10), draw controls wins (17-11), and groundballs (21-9) than GW, all while forcing the opposition into 18 turnovers.

“These girls worked so hard all season and I think the transformation of where we started to where we’re finishing at the end is so impressive and is a true testament to how hard these girls work and how much they want it,” said McMahon

The Minutewomen will have an opportunity to finish A-10 play undefeated for the first time in team history as they take on St. Joseph’s next Saturday in Philadelphia.

Jackson Alexander can be reached at [email protected]