UMass’ season comes to an end with second-round loss to Penn State

By Peter Cappiello

The goal for the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team was to win the weekend.

But on Sunday, the Minutewomen were stopped short, losing to Penn State, 12-9, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Penn State Lacrosse Field in their first meeting since 2001.

Cade Belisle/Collegian

UMass (18-3) may have won its first Tournament game since 1984 on Friday and was competitive throughout Sunday’s contest, but it looked far from satisfied as the Nittany Lions (14-6) celebrated when the final buzzer sounded and the Minutewomen’s season came to an end.

“I think every single person on our team knows we were fully capable of winning this game,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said. “I don’t think anybody walked off this field (Sunday) being satisfied. It wasn’t that we were outworked, it’s that we didn’t capitalize on a lot of our opportunities. We didn’t play the way we were fully capable of playing and it sort of is what it is.”

McMahon said that while it is great for the team and the program to finally get past the first round, there were missed opportunities in the second round that will motivate UMass going into next season.

“It’s pacing how close we were and just realizing it’s a couple of plays here and there,” McMahon said. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work in the offseason to make sure that we not only get back to this point next year, but we’re a better team than we are right now. And we have to better across the board throughout the whole season.”

Trailing 9-4 early in the second half, the Minutewomen responded with a three-goal run, started by sophomore Amy Tiernan. Senior attack Cori Murray and junior midfielder Tanner Guarino followed suit, bringing UMass within two at the 19 minute mark.

Penn State senior attack Molly Fernandez left the Minutewomen playing catch-up for the rest of the game when she netted two consecutive goals to give her team an 11-7 lead with 15:30 left in regulation.

UMass had an opportunity in the final two minutes of the game when senior attack Lauren Terraciano scored to bring the Minutewomen within three. She then drew a yellow card after being taken down by defender Colleen Shea, but time expired without any more goals, sealing the Penn State victory.

McMahon said that the team’s goal earlier in the season was to stop opponents from going on scoring runs and to not lose steam at the midway point of the game. But her team failed to do so on Sunday, costing UMass down the stretch.

“It was a battle of each team trying to get a little bit of momentum and both teams really coming to play,” McMahon said. “We really did have some great looks and great opportunities on attack and we just didn’t finish. That’s the bottom line.”

The Nittany Lions opened the game by scoring four of the first five goals, including a hat trick from sophomore attack Maggie McCormick to put her side up, 4-1, through 19 minutes of play.

Murray scored an unassisted goal minutes later and added one more 33 seconds after that on a free position attempt, drawn by getting fouled while faking her way to the left side of the cage.

Penn State continued its offensive dominance at the end of the half, outscoring UMass 4-1 to take an 8-4 advantage into halftime.

“It’s unfortunate for the seniors to go out like that and thinking of the ‘What ifs’ and different scenarios that could’ve played out,” McMahon added. “But in the end they worked as hard as they could possibly work. They left it all on the field and you know, just have to do better next time.”

Peter Cappiello can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.