PHILADELPHIA - In a back and forth contest that was close until the final horn, the top-seeded Massachusetts Minutewomen (16-3) earned a ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Lacrosse Championship title, holding off No. 3 Richmond, 13-12 in the finale at Saint Joseph's University's Sweeney Field. With the win, the Minutewomen will make their 10th straight appearance in the NCAA Championship, earning the Atlantic 10's automatic bid.
The Spiders (14-6) scored five of the first seven goals of the game, including a hat trick from Kathleen Berkery, as both teams spread the scoring out over the first twenty minutes of the contest. Defensively, Richmond's Megan Gianforte made 11 saves in the opening frame to slow down a normally potent UMass offense.
After a key UMass timeout, the Minutewomen went on a 4-1 run, capped by a pair of Callie Santos goals, to even the score at 6-6. Richmond's Kim Egizi and Sam Geiersbach found the back of the net to end the half with an 8-6 advantage.
UMass returned from the break with three straight goals in the opening seven minutes to take their first lead of the game, 9-8, but Geiersbach netted her second goal of the game to even the score once again.
Hannah Burnett got on the board with 18 minutes remaning in the game to flip the score in UMass' favor, her 58th of the year, and assisted on by Kaitlyn Cerasi. Richmond was not done, however, netting three consecutive goals in five minutes to lead 12-10.
The final eight minutes belonged to UMass as goalie Lauren Hiller came up with a handful of crucial saves to silence the Spiders late. Santos, Holly Turner and A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, Sarah Crowley registered the final three goals of the game to take a 13-12 lead. Richmond would have a few shots at tying the score, but were unable to convert before the final horn.
Egizi, Berkery and Geiersbach each totalled three goals for the Spiders, while Callie Santos netted four and Kiley Anderson and Holly Turner each scored twice. The Minutewomen held the advantage in shots 34 to 27 and draw controls 16-11, while Richmond tallied 12 total saves to Massachusetts' seven.
For her performance this weekend, Murphy was named the Championship's Most Outstanding Player. She tallied 27 draw controls, seven goals and two assists overall. Joining Murphy on the All-Championship team was La Salle's Allee Ilgenfritz and Davidson's Annie Brockett and from Richmond, Kathleen Berkery, Caroline Queally, Kim Egizi, Sam Geiersbach and Megan Gianforte. Also honored on the team, from Massachusetts, Kaitlyn Cerasi, Sarah Crowley, Callie Santos and Kiley Anderson.
This is the Minutewomen's ninth-straight A-10 title and NCAA appearance. The NCAA Women's Lacrosse field will be revealed on NCAA.com on Sunday, May 7 at 9 pm.