April 19, 2014

No. 9 UMass Hangs on to Beat Richmond

from press release

RICHMOND, Va. - Sam Rush led all scorers with three goals and Rachel Vallarelli made a save with 1.6 seconds left on the clock to preserve the win as the No. 11 UMass women's lacrosse team defeated Richmond 9-8 on Saturday afternoon at Robins Stadium. The win gives UMass sole possession of the Atlantic 10 lead while handing Richmond its first league loss of the season.

UMass (14-1, 5-0 A-10) has now won 34 consecutive games against Atlantic 10 opponents including 26 straight during regular-season play. The Minutewomen have also won 10 straight meetings against Richmond (9-5, 4-1 A-10) - five of which were by just one goal.

Rush scored the game-winning goal with 3:27 left in regulation. With the game tied at 8-8, UMass was able to force a turnover in the Richmond offensive zone. After clearing the ball and holding possession, Rory Sadoff earned a free position attempt with 3:38 to go. Her shot ricocheted off the post, but Tanner Guarino (1 goal, 1 assist) was there to scoop up the ground ball. She found a cutting Rush who netted the go-ahead goal.

Richmond won the ensuing draw control, but Vallarelli was there to make a save on an Emily Castle shot with 1:49 to go. UMass was able to clear the ball running the clock down to 18 seconds before the Spiders forced a turnover to regain possession.

A quick clear for Richmond saw the Spiders have a chance to tie the game with Castle receiving the ball at the top center of the 8-meter arc. With two defenders closing in on her, she fired a shot between them that Vallarelli was able to save with her body with 1.6 seconds left on the clock preserving the win.

The game had been a defensive battle for the first half with the teams trading goals and going into halftime tied 3-3.

Richmond came out of the intermission with a three-goal run over the first 3:26 of the second half with a pair of goals from Hayley Ross and one from Anna Jeszeck to go up 6-3.

UMass took back the momentum with four straight goals book-ended by a pair from Rush. She scored her first just 13 seconds after Jeszeck, while Melissa Carelli and Guarino netted goals in the next two minutes afterwards to tie the game 6-6. Rush gave the Minutewomen the lead for the first time in the game with 23:24 to go.

The Spiders fought back as a pair of goals once again put Richmond ahead. Makenna Pohle scored her second of the day to tie the game, while Bailey Zerr put Richmond up 8-7 at the 18:27 mark.

Just over eight minutes later, the Minutewomen were able to tie the game once again when Courtney McGrath opted not to shoot on a free position attempt and instead found a wide open Carelli for the dump in goal.

Neither team was able to capitalize on its offensive possessions after that until Rush scored the game-winner.

Along with Rush and Carelli, Erika Eipp added two goals, while Amy Tiernan had one. Vallarelli finished the game with six saves including four in the second half.

Ross added an assist to lead Richmond with three poings, while a total of seven Spiders scored goals in the game. Goalie Emily Boyce was strong in cage making 10 saves.

UMass held a 23-to-16 advantage in shots and a 13-to-7 edge in draw controls thanks to seven from freshman Hannah Murphy.

The Minutewomen will close out the regular-season next weekend with a home game against St. Bonaventure on Friday (1 PM) before heading to Pittsburgh to face Duquesne on Sunday (Noon).

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