Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season

By Ryan Ames

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team’s thrilling run ran out at last.

In the second round of the NCAA tournament Sunday afternoon, UMass (17-4, 9-0 Atlantic 10) fell to a red-hot Navy squad 23-11, ending the Minutewomen’s season in disheartening fashion.

“I’m really proud of our team,” UMass head coach Angela McMahon said. “We fought all the way to the end against a really good, talented team, who took any momentum we had away from us.”

The Minutewomen met their match going up against a team in the midst of a Cinderella run and couldn’t pull through and extend their own season.

UMass failed to overcome a potent offense from the Mids (17-4, 8-1 Patriot League), with 23 goals being the most the Minutewomen surrendered all season. They were led by attacker Kelly Larkin’s nine points (three goals, six assists) while sisters Julia and Jenna Collins each registered eight points, with Julia scoring a career-high eight goals.

With Navy leading 12-7 at halftime, UMass was starting to chip away at the Mids lead, which got as high as 8-1 in the opening frame, but Navy came out blazing in the second stanza, scoring the first six goals of the half to push the score to 18-7. The lead proved to be insurmountable as UMass only managed four more goals in the remaining 24 minutes, with the Minutewomen’s 11 goals being their lowest scored since March 25 in their 10-9 win over Marist.

“Playing a team in the NCAA tournament, it is really hard to get back into it when you’re behind like that,” McMahon said. “When we did have out chances we turned it over.”

Navy came into the contest in high spirits after upsetting No. 7 Penn 11-10 Friday, which marked its first victory against a ranked opponent in school history. This momentum was evident as the Mids looked sharp and made UMass pay all game long, forcing 15 turnovers from the Minutewomen.

“I think [Navy’s momentum] started in their conference game against Loyola,” McMahon said. “They’re well coached, have good athletes and are a feisty, scrappy group.”

The Mids beat Loyola-Maryland 15-5 on May 7.

UMass received good performances from senior Callie Santos (three goals), junior Holly Turner (goal, two assists) and freshman Kaitlyn Cerasi, who led all Minutewomen with four points (three goals, assist.)

Senior Sarah Crowley set a new school record in turnovers, causing one turnover that moved her career total to 240, which marks the most in program history.

Draw controls were a weakness for UMass as Navy dominated the draw, corralling 20 compared to the Minutewomen’s 14, including an 11-4 total for the Mids in the second half alone. Julia Collins led Navy with eight.

The game started in the Mids favor as they tallied eight of the first nine goals in the opening 12:26. UMass responded by scoring six of the next 10 goals, registered by Turner, Santos, Cerasi (two), senior Hannah Murphy and redshirt sophomore Kiley Anderson.

The contest was close at the onset of the final frame, but Navy’s lightning fast start made it too big of a deficit for the Minutewomen to claw back from. Santos (two), Cerasi, and Crowley scored the remaining four goals for UMass in its season-ending defeat.

Shots and saves favored the Mids 34-25, and 7-3, while the Minutewomen had more ground balls 21 of 41, and fouls 29 of 46.

“I’m just really proud of our team,” McMahon reiterated while reflecting on her team’s season. “We had a tough schedule to start, giving up a few games to a few great teams, but we came together, found our identity and peaked here at the end of the season.”

UMass freshman goalkeeper Lauren Hiller made two saves in 34:16 of action and junior Aileen Kelly came in, making one save, in the remaining 25:44.

Anderson (two goals), Murphy (goal), Crowley (goal), redshirt junior Hannah Burnett (assist) and sophomore midfielder Brianna Sacks (assist) were the other point producers for the Minutewomen in the loss.

UMass will be losing five seniors next year as Crowley, Murphy, Santos, and defenders Taylor Fischer, and Allison Ryan will all be graduated.

“There were a lot of bright spots this year,” McMahon said. “I really like this group coming back and I hope they remember this feeling.”

Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.