April 19, 2009

Another Dramatic Win Gives UMass Top Seed

from press release

OLEAN, N.Y. - Brittany Brigandi's career-high four goals along with Stephanie Hopkins' game-winner with 1:04 left in the game gave the UMass women's lacrosse team a dramatic come-from-behind 14-13 win at St. Bonaventure on Sunday afternoon. With the win, the Minutewomen (9-7, 6-1 A-10) win the Atlantic 10 Regular-Season title for the first time since 2000 and will be the No. 1 seed in next weekend's Atlantic 10 Tournament.

UMass will face No. 4 seed George Washington in the A-10 Semifinal next Friday, April 24 in Philadelphia at Temple's Geasey Field. Richmond earned the No. 2 seed and will face third-seeded Saint Joseph's. Richmond defeated the Hawks on Sunday 12-5 in Virginia. UMass defeated George Washington 18-5 on April 5 in Amherst.

The Minutewomen trailed 11-4 with 20:58 remaining in the second half before storming back. Brigandi scored all four of her goals in that run doubling her goal total for the season.

The Minutewomen led 4-3 midway through the first half before the Bonnies (7-10, 1-6 A-10) eight straight goals taking the 11-4 lead. St. Bona's Molly Hastrich scored three goals and assisted on two others in the run.

Senior Holly Drown and freshman Nina Sarcona scored back-to-back goals to stop the SBU runbefore Brigandi, a native of nearby Syracuse, N.Y., scored back-to-back goals just 33 seconds apart to cut the lead to 11-8 with 16:08 left.

Hastrich, who had a game-high six points, notched her fourth goal of the game to push the lead back to four, but Drown and Brigandi cut the lead to two, 12-10, with 12:49 remaining.

Trailing by three with 5:43 to go after a Christine Hanley goal, Brigandi scored her fourth goal of the game which was followed by two from A-10 Player of the Year candidate Jackie Lyons who tied the game with 4:11 to play.

After St. Bona gained control on the ensuing draw control, Hanley turned possession over with 3:03 remaining and UMass ran off nearly two minutes before Hopkins (2 goals, 2 assists) hit her first career game-winning goal.

UMass won the draw control following Hopkins' goal, but turned it back over to the Bonnies. With 37 seconds to go, junior Merritt Cosgrove forced a turnover on Hastrich allowing UMass to clear the ball and run out the rest of the clock.

Seven different players scored for UMass led by Brigandi's five points (4g, 1a), four from Hopkins and three goals from Lyons. Lyons, who scored 13 points as a freshman, finished the regular season with 57 which is the 10th-best single-season performance in UMass history. Holly Drown finished the game with two goals extending her scoring streak to 16 games. She also hauled in six draw controls setting the UMass career record with 114 to pass Kathleen Typadis (113).

The Minutewomen outshot St. Bona 37-to-23 for the game including 21-to-7 in the second half. Draw controls proved critical as UMass held a 19-to-8 advantage including a 13-to-3 margin in the second half. The Minutewomen struggled on free position opportunities going just 4-for-13, but did committ just 7 turnovers which was one shy of a season low.

Along with winning the regular-season title, UMass tied its best A-10 record at 6-1 (2003). UMass' nine wins are also the most for the program since 11 in 2003.

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