UMass women’s lacrosse takes home seventh straight A-10 championship

By Andrew Cyr

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Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

Cade Belisle/Daily Collegian

The number seven is often considered to be a lucky number to most people.

It appears as a symbol on slot machines in most casinos. It’s also the amount of colors in the rainbow, notes in a music scale and the number for the wonders of the ancient world.

And now the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team can add to that list as it clinched its seventh consecutive Atlantic 10 championship with an 8-4 victory over Richmond Sunday in the nation’s capitol.

The last time the Minutewomen (18-1, 10-0 A-10) failed to win the conference tournament was in 2008, when they fell to Temple 10-3. UMass coach Angela McMahon was an assistant at the time and took the head coaching job at Connecticut shortly after the tournament ended.

“It really shows how much work and dedication that we’ve put in all season and its great to see that it has paid off,” Minutewomen attacker Amy Tiernan said. “For me and the seniors, to win the tournament all four years is something that we are really proud of.”

UMass pulled away from the Spiders in the second half after scoring two goals midway through as Eileen McDonald scored one to put the Minutewomen up 7-4 with exactly 21 minutes remaining in the game.

Then Tiernan, who was named the A-10 tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, scored to put UMass up 8-4 with 17:54 left. Both teams’ defenses locked in as neither team scored for the remainder of the game.

“We knew going in that this game was going to be a lot tougher than the first time that we played them,” Tiernan said. “Richmond is always a battle for us and it’s always a good rivalry when we play each other.”

She added: “The defense has been the backbone to the team all season. They came up big for us once again today, especially (goalkeeper) Rachel (Vallarelli).”

Tiernan opened the game’s scoring 2:32 into the first half with the first of her three goals against Richmond goalkeeper Emily Boyce. However, Emily Newman answered the call for the Spiders with a tally to tie the game at 1-1 five minutes in.

Nicole Troost scored her only goal of the game off an assist from Katie Ott to put UMass up 2-1, but the Spiders bounced right back yet again as Emily Castle tied the game less than a minute later.

The Minutewomen then scored three of the next four goals in the half and took a 5-3 lead heading into the break. They never trailed at any point during the game.

“I’m so proud of our players and the way we’ve come together over the course of the year. It was different players stepping up at different times this year making big plays,” McMahon said.

“Our defense consistently has been so stingy and we made Richmond’s lives very difficult (Sunday). Ball pressure has been a constant theme for us and we wanted to make what they do best, difficult for them.”

Richmond’s (10-9, 7-3 A-10) leading scoring Charlett Stevenson finished with a pair of goals while Boyce recorded five saves in cage.

UMass will play Jacksonville in the opening round of the NCAA tournament May 8 at 4 p.m.

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