Saint Joe’s thwarts UMass in A-10 women’s lacrosse title game

  • UMass’ Kelly Marra (20) tries to get a shot past a pack of Saint Joe’s defenders during the Minutewomen’s 15-11 loss in the Atlantic 10 championship game on Sunday at Garber Field in Amherst. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass’ Julia Smith (22) tries to drive to the net during the Minutewomen’s 15-11 loss to Saint Joe’s in the Atlantic 10 championship game on Sunday at Garber Field in Amherst. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

  • UMass’ Amy Moreau (3) tries to drive to the net during the Minutewomen’s 15-11 loss to Saint Joe’s in the Atlantic 10 championship game on Sunday at Garber Field in Amherst. CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS

Staff Writer 
Published: 5/1/2022 6:07:26 PM
Modified: 5/1/2022 6:05:53 PM

AMHERST – For two years now, Saint Joseph’s has been the underdog that managed to pull off the impossible. 

Last year, it knocked off nationally-ranked Richmond, a No. 1 seed, in the Atlantic-10 Conference tournament before falling to the Minutewomen in the A-10 title game. This year, the Hawks defeated No. 1 UMass, 15-11, on the Minutewomen’s home turf of Garber Field during the championship game after taking down No. 2 Richmond in the semis. 

“Saint Joe's put together a full 60-minute game. We had some ups and downs and had some trouble coming back from it, but my hat's off to them. They played really well,” UMass midfielder Amy Moreau said. 

Saint Joseph’s put together a balanced attack that stymied the Minutewomen. A-10 Offensive Player of the Year Lauren Figura was lights out for the Hawks, scoring five goals, and Riley Evans and Lisa Ross also scored hat tricks for the Hawks. For UMass, Julia Smith scored a hatty, while leading scorers Kendra Harbinger and Kelly Marra were held to just a goal apiece. 

Like their semifinal game against Davidson, the Minutewomen jumped out to a fast start. UMass scored three goals from Moreau, Marra and Julia Smith to take a 3-0 lead. The pace was all UMass in that opening frame – the defense in front of starting goalie Gina Carroll was airtight, forcing errant passes out of play and turning the ball over to the Minutewomen.

In the second frame, attackers Haley Connaughton and Alex Finn also pressured the Saint Joseph’s net and forced two turnovers, swinging the momentum back in the Minutewomen’s favor.

“I thought that we were moving the ball well, I thought we were getting everyone involved in the offense. We won the first couple draw controls there, possessions and really putting our shots away, I thought we did a good job of that,” UMass head coach Angela McMahon-Serpone. “But again, you know, I think we just needed to do that a little bit more.” 

The difference between this game and the last time the Minutewomen faced the Hawks was Saint Joseph’s response, particularly in the second half. Though UMass would twice more establish a three-goal lead, by halftime, the No. 3 seed had made it an 8-7 game.

The Hawks held the Minutewomen off the board entirely during the third quarter, part of an 18-minute stretch where UMass couldn’t find the back of the net. During that time, the Hawks scored four goals to take their first lead of the game.

“I think on attack, we were just fumbling a little bit, and Saint Joe's responded a lot harder than we were anticipating and they came at us a lot harder than we're used to,” Moreau said. “That's not an excuse, but I think we could have definitely handled that better on attack and defense.” 

When Saint Joseph’s scored its 11th goal of the contest, McMahon-Serpone made the decision to pull starting goalie Carroll and put in Bridgette Wall with 1:33 remaining in the third period.

“It never falls on the goalie. That substitution is basically a team substitution, not necessarily a Gina substitution. It’s what our team needs in that moment, just adjusting and making a change,” McMahon-Serpone said. “They're a potent attack. I thought we did a pretty good job of dictating some of those shots that we're looking to get… We also switched the style of defense that we were playing at that time as well, and just looking for a little bit of energy and just seeing if we could shift it in that way.”

Figura and Saint Joseph’s goaltender Jorden Concordia were major difference-makers for the Hawks. Concordia made nine saves, many of them during critical moments of the game, and four of Figura’s five goals came in the first half to keep the Hawks in the game until the rest of its offense started clicking.

“Lauren's a true competitor. She works really hard. She comes out to compete every day, and I think she came here to win a championship and she got it done in her senior year,” Saint Joseph’s head coach Alex Kahoe said. “I knew from the beginning (that) Jordan had that championship spirit, if you will. She makes the big saves when we need her to. I think the combination of the two, having someone that can score a goal when you need them to and having someone that can step up and make the big save, that’s the equation right there.”

UMass fell to 16-3 with the loss, and will now wait to find out if it earns an At-Large bid into the NCAA Division 1 Tournament.


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