A-10 semifinals: UMass women’s lacrosse holds off Davidson to return to championship game

  • Alyssa Natoli carries the ball around the back of the net for the Minutewomen during the A-10 semfinal game against Davidson. UMass advanced to the championship game against St. Joseph’s with an 11-8 win against Davidson.   CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

  • Goalie Gina Carroll makes a save against Davidson on Friday morning. The Minutewomen advanced to the A-10 championship game against St. Joseph with an 11-8 win over Davidson in the semifinal.  CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

  • Haley Connaughton looks for a scoring opportunity against Davidson in UMass’ semifinal matchup. The Minutewomen advanced to the A-10 championship game with an 11-8 win against Davidson.  CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

  • The UMass women’s lacrosse team celebrates an 11-8 semifinal win over Davidson in the A-10 conference tournament. They will face off against St. Joseph’s in the championship game on Sunday, May 1.  CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

  • Hayden Callahan looks for an opening against Davidson during Friday’s semifinal game. The Minutewomen won 11-8, advancing to the A-10 championship game against St. Joseph.  CHRIS TUCCI/UMASS ATHLETICS—

Staff Writer
Published: 4/29/2022 7:41:03 PM

AMHERST — The UMass women’s lacrosse team preserved its perfect Atlantic 10 record and punched its ticket to the conference championship game on Sunday. The Minutewomen will face off against No. 3 St. Joseph’s at noon on Sunday for the A-10 title and an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. St. Joseph’s upset No. 2 seed Richmond for the second consecutive year to reach the championship game.

UMass will play for its second consecutive conference title.

“So happy to come away with a win today. I thought Davidson really took it to us there and really competed, but ultimately I thought our team stepped up in those moments. I think getting off to a strong start at the beginning of the game was really valuable for us,” UMass head coach Angela McMahon-Serpone said. “Their goalie made it tough for us in terms of shooting today. She had such a great game and a great year, but ultimately I think our team really stepped up. (We have) so many different weapons, and I’m just really proud of the team.”

Davidson goalie Amanda Monahan made a career-high 19 saves against the Minutewomen (her previous best was 15 stops), stymieing them completely in the fourth quarter. Though the Minutewomen couldn’t find the back of the net in the last quarter, it was too little, too late for Davidson – a seven-goal first half and a strong showing in the third quarter put a comeback too far out of reach for the Wildcats. The fast start was exactly what UMass was looking for; they played Davidson just last week in their regular season finale, a close 13-11 win where they struggled to keep up in the beginning of the contest.

“I think it’s really just about asserting ourselves and playing really aggressive everywhere on the field,” McMahon-Serpone said. “Last week, we sort of let them dictate the tempo early on, especially in the first half. And I felt that was a good lesson for us to make sure we’re coming out and asserting ourselves, which I think we did today.”

It looked at first like Davidson might keep rolling against UMass. It was the Wildcats who got on the board first about five minutes into the opening quarter. This time, the UMass squad wasn’t phased. Kelly Marra tied the game up just 1 minute, 21 seconds after Davidson’s goal, the first of six unanswered goals by UMass to race off to a 6-1 lead midway through the second. Haley Connaughton, Brinley Anderson, Kendra Harbinger, and Quinn Daley all found the back of the net before Davidson managed to beat UMass goalie Gina Carroll to make it 6-2 with 7:54 remaining in the second. By the end of the half, each team had added a goal to make it 7-3, including a third goal for Harbinger to give her the hat trick before the third quarter started.

“I thought she was number one, really aggressive, but number two, a couple of her goals were key in that they were quick rebounds off of the goalie and putting that away. That’s effort and hustle. Those are hustle plays. It’s not necessarily our settled offense,” McMahon-Serpone said. “So I thought for her to come up with some of those loose balls, just great effort and commitment to helping her team as much as she could.”

Harbinger got the third going with her fourth goal of the day, a goal on a free-position shot to make it 8-3. From there, the two teams traded goals over the next eight minutes before UMass managed to string together two tallies from Olivia Muscella and Maddy Malolney to lead 11-5 heading into the final frame.

Though Davidson kept the Minutewomen scoreless in the fourth, they only managed to beat Carroll three times in the final 15 minutes. Carroll finished the game with five saves.


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