Last Minute Rally Gives La Salle Win Over UMass

AMHERST, MASS.- A day after getting official word that it had clinched a position in next weekend's Atlantic 10 Championships at Duquesne University, La Salle Lacrosse defeated the Massachusetts Minutewomen, 10-9, in dramatic fashion on the final day of the regular season.

The victory gives the Explorers nine wins on the year, which ties the 2005 squad for the program record for most in a season. With the win, the Explorers capture the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, meaning they will have a rematch against No. 3 seed UMass on Friday at 3:30 p.m. in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Just like Friday's game at Temple, the Explorers trailed 9-6 to UMass on Sunday. Familiarity with the scenario is what guided the Explorers to their second consecutive victory.

“With the way this team responds, I've never been calmer in situations like this in all my years of coaching,” head coach Candace Taglianetti said. “This team has more heart and passion than any other team that I've been around and we are conditioned so well, which is why we are able to do our work so successfully late in games.”

Needing to put together a comeback, senior Jill Davis (Folsom, Pa./Ridley) completed the hat trick with her 39th goal of the season, which cut the Minutewomen-lead to a 9-7 advantage.

Davis finished the game with a five-point afternoon, including three goals and two assists. Her three goals on Sunday raises her career total to 99.

Freshman Lauren McDermott (Lansdale, Pa./ North Penn) continued La Salle's pursuit at another comeback when she scored her third goal of the game with 2:50 remaining.

Having a flair for the dramatics, freshman Melanie Sarcinello (Newtown Square, Pa./ Marple Newtown) netted the game-tying goal for the Explorers with 26 seconds remaining.

The goal made it the second straight game that Sarcinello tied the game in the final minute of regulation play.

Sophomore Sara Ciaverelli's (Hatfield, Pa./North Penn) control of the ensuing draw control was the most critical in La Salle's late-game rally. Taking the ball into UMass territory as the game clock was ticking away the final seconds, McDermott was set up with a shot with two seconds remaining, which completed La Salle's bid at an upset victory when she netted her fourth goal of the game.

“This game was just another example of how dedicated our team is and shows that we can execute our game plan in a way that we intend,” Taglianetti said.

Keeping the Explorers in the game, Ciaverelli led the Explorers from a defensive standpoint with three ground balls and a caused turnover, while sophomore Megan Corliss (Bluebell, Pa./Archbishop Carroll) had six saves in goal.

McDermott's four-goal afternoon pushes her rookie season total to 34, placing her fourth all-time among La Salle freshmen goal scorers.

Finding itself down 3-0 in the opening four minutes to the team favored to win this season's A-10 Championship, is what seemed to spark the Explorers offense.

Junior Lauren Bushby (Chestertown, Md./ Kent County) scooped up a groundball off of a turnover by UMass's Danielle Pelletier, which sent the Explorers the other way. Davis took control of the ball and found the back of the net to get the Explorers on the board.

The goal by Davis stirred the momentum for La Salle. A little over a minute later, senior Stefany McKee (Baldwinsville, N.Y./Baldwinsville) was granted a free position shot, which she converted.

Her 30th goal of the season brought the Explorers within a score, while making it the third straight season that she's tallied at least that many.

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