PITTSBURGH, Pa. - The top-seeded Massachusetts Minutewomen (17-1) used a balanced offensive attack and a solid defensive effort to stifle No. 4 Saint Joseph's (9-10) on Friday at Duquesne's Rooney Field.
WIth the win, the Minutewomen will play in their ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Lacrosse Championship finals, and will face the sixth-seeded Richmond. The teams have met in the championship finale in the past three seasons.
A-10 Midfielder of the Year, Hannah Murphy put UM on the board just 11 seconds into the game, scoring an unassisted goal, her 30th of the year. Minutes later, the Hawks tied the game as Rookie of the Year, Bec Lane took a pass from Nora McCallion and found the back of the net, for her 35th of the season.
Erika Eipp and Hannah Burnett would trade duties, each scoring and assisting on the following two Minutewomen goals, before the Hawks knotted it again with goals from Aly Gormley and McCallion. With the goal, McCallion reached the 50 goal milestone this season.
UMass would rattle off four consecutive goals in the first half, taking a 7-3 lead, but the Hawks got the last word in the period, with Gormley netting her second of the day. The Minutewomen controlled throughout offensively, firing off 17 shots, to SJU's 6.
The Hawks would remain in striking distance through much of the second half, but the Minutewomen's balanced attack never lost the lead. Six Minutewomen scored, while five players registered assists, including a hat trick from both Murphy, and Eipp, a two-time Offensive Player of the Year.
The Hawks were led by Lane and Sarah Smith, who each scored twice, while Maggie Egan added three helpers. In goal, Genevieve Giblin made seven stops.
Defensive Player of the Year, Kate Farnham led UMass with a game-high five caused turnovers, three groundballs and two draw controls.
After completing their sixth perfect regular conference season, the Minutewomen look to repeat as eight-time Atlantic 10 Champions. Sunday's matchup with Richmond will be the second of the year, with UM coming out on top, 18-10, on Apr. 22.