Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s lacrosse falls in second round of NCAA tournament against top-seeded Maryland

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

There’s been no questioning how dominant the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team has been in recent seasons not only in the Atlantic 10 conference but throughout the New England region as well.

However, just like the past several years, the 2015 campaign ended much of the same for the Minutewomen, who fell short against the NCAA tournament’s top seed Sunday in an 18-9 loss to Maryland.

UMass (19-2, 8-0 A-10) knew entering the second round tournament game that it had a daunting task on its hands facing the reigning champion Terrapins. However, despite the outcome, Minutewomen coach Angela McMahon said she was happy with the performance and had no regrets.

“It was definitely disappointing. I loved our team this year,” McMahon said. “Today it came down to ball possession and you can’t win games if you don’t have the ball. But the good thing was, we never stopped fighting the whole 60 minutes and you can’t play that much defense and expect to beat a team like Maryland.”

The two teams battled back and forth to start the contest and were tied at three goals apiece less than five minutes into the game.

Maryland’s (17-1, 5-0 Big Ten) Brooke Griffin then scored a free-position goal with 21 minutes, 21 seconds remaining in the first half to put the Terrapins up 4-3. Griffin’s goal was the first of five unanswered goals by Maryland before UMass’ Callie Santos stopped the bleeding with 5:59 remaining in the half.

It wasn’t the Terrapins’ run in the first half however that McMahon believed gave the Minutewomen trouble. Instead, she noted the three-minute stretch in the second half where Maryland again scored five consecutive times to extend its lead to 16-6.

“After they went on that run (in the first half) we still had some opportunities to come back,” McMahon said. “In lacrosse, you can come back from being four or five goals down… Once you get to seven, eight or even (higher) goals down, it comes pretty tough, especially against a team like Maryland.”

The biggest problem that goalkeeper Rachel Vallarelli (19 goals allowed, 11 saves) and the rest of UMass’ defense faced Sunday was the amount of different weapons the Terrapins boasted on offense. Four different players recorded hat tricks for Maryland.

Megan Whittle and Kelly McPartland each finished with four goals apiece while Zoe Stukenberg and Taylor Cummings totaled three goals each.

Erika Eipp, the A-10 offensive player of the year, led the Minutewomen with four goals. Santos, Eileen McDonald, Amy Tiernan and Nicole Troost each scored once in the loss.

While Sunday marked the end of another successful season for UMass, McMahon said she was most pleased with how the Minutewomen responded with a new corps of players following the graduation of seven key players in 2014.

“After having a great (graduating) class last year and to come in this year and not miss a beat with a brand new team is a huge credit to our upperclassmen who made the transition easy for the underclassmen,” McMahon said.


Andrew Cyr can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Andrew_Cyr.

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