Massachusetts Defeats La Salle in Atlantic 10 Semifinals

PITTSBURGH - Jackie Lyons and Danielle Pelletier each scored three goals and Katie Florence made nine saves as the UMass women's lacrosse team defeated La Salle 9-7 in the Atlantic 10 Semifinals. UMass (9-8) will face Richmond in the championship game on Sunday at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. The game will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports beginning at 3:00 pm.

Richmond defeated Temple in the Tournament's first semifinal game of the day. The Minutewomen were the only team to defeat Richmond this season as the Spiders finished 6-1 in the Atlantic 10 to win the regular-season title.

Along with her three goals, Lyons also added an assist for a game-high four points. Haley Smith, Merritt Cosgrove and Jesse O'Donnell also scored goals for UMass, while Nina Sarcona added a pair of assists. O'Donnell's goal extends her point streak to 18 consecutive games.

Nora McGurkin led La Salle with two goals and an assist. Six different Explorers scored goals on the day including senior Jill Davis whose sole tally in the game gave her 100 for her career.

The teams traded goals to start the opening 10 minutes of play before Davis' goal gave the Explorers (9-7) a 3-2 lead with 19:25 remaining in the first half.

Just over a minute later, Pelletier and Lyons combined to score five straight goals including of all three of Lyons' for the game. After Lyons third goal of the run with 10:54 remaining, Pelletier scored her second of the game 23 seconds later giving UMass a 7-3 lead. McGurkin tallied with 2:07 left before halftime, making it 7-4 at the intermission.

The second half was more methodical than the first as each team held long possessions. Smith's unassisted tally put UMass up by four, 8-4, with 20:31 remaining before La Salle scored twice to pull within two midway through the frame. A Pelletier free position shot with 9:20 remaining pushed the lead back to three, 9-6, but La Salle answered just over three minutes later to pull back.

UMass ran out nearly the final 4:30 of the game but a turnover with 39 seconds to go gave life to the La Salle bench. UMass' Riley Perry forced a turnover near the La Salle restraining line and Jordan Renna picked up the ball allowing the Minutewomen to run out the clock for the win.

Just as they were in the first game of the year between these two teams (a 10-9 win for La Salle), the statistics were close to even for the day. UMass held a 22-to-20 shot edge, while La Salle had a 15-to-11 advantage in groundballs. Turnovers were an even 13 for each team. La Salle's Megan Corliss took the loss for the Explorers in goal making five saves.

This will be the fifth time UMass has reached the Atlantic 10 Tournament Championship game and the third straight. UMass defeated Saint Joseph's last season, but fell to Temple in 2008. This will be the first time UMass and Richmond have played in the championship game. The two teams are 2-2 all-time in post-season play.

The winner of the Atlantic 10 Tournament will meet the champion of the Mountain Pacific Sports Foundation (MPSF) in the NCAA Play-In game.


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