NEWPORT NEWS, Va.— Massachusetts (14-3, 9-0 A-10) finished the regular season with a perfect 9-0 conference record and will be the top seed for the 2017 Atlantic 10 Conference Lacrosse Championship, which begins Thursday at Saint Joseph's Sweeney Field in Philadelphia, Pa.
The championship expanded to six teams last year, giving UMass and second-seeded SJU a bye into Friday's semifinals. The winner of Sunday's championship final will receive the A-10's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.
UMass has not lost an Atlantic 10 game since 2010 and has been the top seed for eight of the last nine A-10 Championships. The Minutewomen are led by a balanced scoring effort, highlighted by Holly Turner and Hannah Burnett, who have 74 and 66 points, respectively. Defensively, four-time A-10 Defender of the Week, Sarah Crowley leads the squad with a UMass single-season record 43 caused turnovers. The Minutewomen will face the quarterfinal winner between No. 4 George Mason and No. 5 Davidson at 1:00 pm Friday.
A three-way tie for second place between Saint Joseph's, Richmond and George Mason, all with conference records of 7-2, was broken by goal differential among the three tied teams. Based on the tiebreaker, Richmond is seeded third and George Mason is fourth. Following the first round bye, the Hawks, who finished the regular season with a 11-6 overall record, will face the winner of No. 3 Richmond and No. 6 La Salle on Friday at 3:30 pm.
Richmond, which finished 7-2 in league play and 12-5 overall is coming off a trio of conference wins. The Spiders are led offensively by Kim Egizi, Natalie Chaney and Sam Geiersbach, who have contributed 131 goals combined on the season. George Mason finished the season with an overall record of 11-6, and a 19-9 victory over Davidson on Saturday. Alexa McGovern and Chachi Kelehan lead the Patriots with 53 and 45 goals, respectively.
The fifth-seeded Wildcats, with an overall record of 7-9, will play the Patriots for the second time in a week in the quarterfinals at 1:00 pm Thursday, while the sixth-seeded La Salle Explorers (7-10, 3-6 A-10) will take on Richmond on Thursday at 3:30 pm. The Explorers won a head-to-head tiebreaker with VCU to earn the final spot in the bracket.
All five games of the Lacrosse Championship will be streamed through the A-10 Network for free, which can be accessed from Atlantic10.com.