Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Push by seniors and underclassmen help UMass women’s lacrosse end their season on top

The win earned the Minutewomen the top seed in the A-10 Tournament

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(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

(Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

By Emmi Beuger, Collegian Staff

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Saturday’s game not only showcased the talents of the Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team’s seniors, but also the efforts of underclassmen stepping up to create plays that led to the Minutewomen’s victory over Duquesne, 21-6. This was the final home game and final regular season game before the Atlantic 10 Tournament next week.

The Minutewomen (13-4, 8-1 A-10) saw strong performances by not only younger players, but also veteran players in the win over the Dukes (4-12, 2-7 A-10).

A strong push in the first five minutes of the second half by the Minutewomen secured the win with goals by Ashley Faulhaber, Holly Turner and Kaitlyn Cerasi.

“We moved the ball really fast on offense—that was the game plan,” Faulhaber said.

A pivotal moment of the game was the joint effort by seniors Faulhaber and Turner to set up captain Hannah Burnett’s fourth and final goal of the game.

“Ashley passed it down to Holly and I was just kind of able to backdoor my girl and Holly made an unbelievable feed right over the cross bar and I was just able to finish it quickly,” Burnett said.

“We work on it a lot at practice,” Faulhaber said about the play. “Getting it behind, working it back up top, a lot of back and forth, so I’m really glad we could connect on it.”

This push by the Minutewomen in the second half built on their strong lead in the first half, where they led 13-3 going into halftime.

This was the first game since the team’s loss last week vs. Virginia Commonwealth. UMass coach Angela McMahon had expressed the need for improvement following the loss, and said that the team had improved in Saturday’s game.

“I think we were moving the ball better, we were more aggressive, more assisted goals,” Faulhaber said. “I think we were just getting the shots that we wanted vs. the shots that we were being forced into. So, I thought that we did a good job of initiating and being aggressive offensively. Defensively, I thought they did a great job. Really having some good sets, playing together and specifically playing aggressive and slowing the ball down.”

Strong offense and defense contributed to the win, with hat tricks for both Cerasi and Turner. Lauren Hiller and Sam Walters split the time in goal, making a combined eight saves.

Underclassmen such as Ally Murphy and Kelly Marra stepped up in the game, with Murphy tallying two assists and Marra tallying two goals.

“I think Ally [Murphy] did great,” said McMahon. “She’s so scrappy and aggressive on ground balls. She’s been battling in practice and giving her an opportunity with what she’s been doing on the draw control and on the circle for us to get out there and do her thing. And she did a good job. For us, the focus is not necessarily about who it is, it’s just anyone who’s going to be ready to step up and put ourselves in a position to go put the ball in the back of the net. And on the circle, she definitely did that.”

The team is looking to build upon this win going into the A-10 Tournament next week after securing the No. 1 seed in the tournament and winning the regular season championship. The Minutewomen are looking to win their tenth consecutive A-10 title next week.

“[It’s] definitely great momentum,” McMahon said. “Putting up a lot of goals against a really scrappy Duquesne. I mean, they’ve been scoring a lot of goals in these games leading up, so I thought for us to have a good offensive day but really shutting them down on D, I think everyone really stepped up.”

The Minutewomen play next in the semifinals in Richmond, Virginia against either Davidson or VCU on Friday.

Emilia Beuger can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @ebeuger.

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