April 21, 2013

UMass Downs Dukes; Wins A-10 Regular Season

from press release

AMHERST, Mass. - Led by five-point performances from Tanner Guarino, Cori Murray and Sam Rush, the No. 12 UMass women's lacrosse team claimed the 2013 Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Title on Sunday afternoon at McGuirk Stadium with a 16-6 win over Duquesne. The win marked the third consecutive 7-0 regular-season run through the conference as UMass will be the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Atlantic 10 Championship Tournament hosted by the Minutewomen next Friday and Sunday, April 26-28.

Sunday's win extended UMass' league record win streak against Atlantic 10 foes to 27 as well as the current season win streak to 12 games. The Minutewomen also improved their home win streak to 24 consecutive games.

The regular-season title marked the fifth time in program history that UMass (15-2, 7-0 A-10) has won the Atlantic 10 Regular-Season Title, including the third straight, and fourth time in the last five years.

Duquesne entered Sunday's match-up ranked second in the league. The loss drops the Dukes to 5-2 in league play and 10-6 overall.

Rush led all players on Sunday with five goals, while Guarino added three goals and two assists. As one of four seniors celebrating Senior Day, Murray added two goals and three assists to lead the Minutewomen. Fellow seniorLauren Terracciano added three goals while senior defenders Kelsey Palmer and Sarah Mullen helped the UMass defense hold Duquesne to just six goals.

As a group, the senior quartet has helped UMass to one of its best four-year periods in program history. The group is 61-17 in four years having led the Minutewomen to three Atlantic 10 Titles and two NCAA Tournament berths.

The Dukes were led by Lib Lowry who had a goal and two assists. Clare Hurley and Meredith Dunn each had a goal and an assist to lead the offense. Kristen Gregory was strong in goal in the face of 39 shots. Despite allowing the 16 goals, Gregory made 14 saves on the day, had four groundballs and caused one turnover.

The Minutewomen controlled possession for much of the game outshooting the Dukes 39-to-14 for the game sparked by a 24-to-6 advantage in the first half. UMass generated most of its offense from transition defense by holding the Dukes to just 5-of-14 on clearing attempts. The Minutewomen also won 16-of-23 draw controls in the game.

Eight minutes into the first half saw UMass jump out to a 5-1 lead thanks to a pair of goals from Rush and scores from Katie Ferris (2 goals, 1 assist), Terracciano and Amy Tiernan.

Lowry's first of the day made the score 6-3 with 12:05 to go in the opening half, but the Minutewomen scored three straight to take a 9-3 lead into intermission.

Rush scored her 50th goal of the season just 54 seconds into the second half, but Duquesne answered with a pair of goals pulling to 10-5 with 22:08 to go.

A five goal run in nearly six minutes pushed UMass' lead to 15-5 with an unassisted drive by Murray capping the stretch at the 14:55 mark.

Haley Marafioti scored to bring the lead back to single-digits, but a Guarino free-position goal with 4:43 to go gave the final margin.

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