NEWTON, Mass. - The No. 14 nationally ranked University of Massachusetts women's lacrosse team faltered in a 10-4 game against No. 12 Loyola in the NCAA Tournament First Round, hosted by Boston College at the BC Lacrosse Complex in Newton, Mass., on Friday afternoon. Erika Eipp and Sam Rush earned two points a piece to pace the UMass attack as Rush netted a pair of goals on passes from Eipp.
Melissa Carelli and Courtney McGrath added a goal each while Amy Tiernan helped out on one tally. Kelsey Sheridan secured four draw controls, scooped up a trio of groundballs and caused three turnovers for the Minutewomen to lead the defense while Kate Farnham tallied three groundballs and a caused turnover.
UMass ended its season with an 18-2 overall record, the third-most earned in a single year in program history. Loyola improved to 15-5 on the year with the win and advanced to face the winner of the Boston College-Bryant contest in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
Loyola scored back-to-back goals from Sydney Thomas and Hannah Schmitt in the span of 59 seconds to push ahead, 2-0 with 24:31 left to play in the first, but Rush rippled the net in the 10th minute to reset the UMass single-season goals record and cut the deficit in half.
To start the successful offensive series, UMass goalie Rachel Vallarelli turned aside a Greyhounds shot and Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honoree Hannah Murphy scooped up the loose ball. Murphy pushed the pace and found Eipp near midfield before Eipp sprinted toward the Loyola cage. Once in the attacking zone, Eipp dished to Rush at the crease for Rush to score her 66th goal of the season and the 175th of her career.The Greyhounds moved in front, 3-1 with a goal from Annie Thomas at the 18:32 mark, but McGrath struck for her eighth tally of the season to again drop the Massachusetts deficit to one just under five minutes later.
A free-position shot from Schmitt netted Loyola its fourth goal of the afternoon before Carelli scored on a rebound attempt in front with 6:48 remaining in the first half to keep the UMass deficit to one goal. After a Tanner Guarino free-position attempt was blocked in front by Loyola goalie Molly Wolf, Carelli scooped up the groundball and deposited it into the back of the net in one motion.
The defensive battle of the first half carried over into the second frame as neither team notched a goal until Loyola extended its advantage to 5-3 with 23:19 to play in regulation. The Greyhounds added two more tallies to grow their lead to 7-3 with 19:36 to play before Rush responded to end the streak.
Rush netted her second goal of the day after she faked low to open up the top left corner for a shot from near the left post. However, the Greyhounds added another free position tally to widen the margin to 8-4 before they tacked on a pair of late goals to reach the final score.
Massachusetts led in shots, 22-20 and groundballs, 19-16. The Minutewomen controlled the draw, winning 11 of the 15 taken; however, UMass finished just 10-for-16 on clears with 19 turnovers. Loyola went 15-for-18 on clears with 17 turnovers.