The University of Massachusetts women’s lacrosse team didn’t get a home game in the NCAA tournament, but the Minutewomen won’t have to go far for its first-round game.
UMass will play Loyola, at the Boston College Lacrosse complex, Friday at 2 p.m. The winner will play the winner of Boston College and Bryant, Sunday at 1 p.m. All four teams in the pod are unseeded, but BC is ranked No. 5/6 in the two women’s lacrosse top 25 polls.
“Being able to stay close to home and stay in our home state, we’re excited,” UMass coach Angela McMahon said.
This will be the Minutewomen’s second first-round meeting with Loyola. The Greyhounds eliminated them from the 2012 NCAA tournament. Loyola (15-5) won the Patriot League title in its first year in the league to secure an automatic bid. The Greyhounds played a rare nonconference game after the Patriot tournament and narrowly lost to No. 2 ranked Syracuse, 14-12.
“The fact that we played Loyola two years ago gives a chance to get redemption,” said McMahon, whose team has won nine straight games.
UMass captured its sixth straight Atlantic 10 championship and the conference’s automatic bid with a 10-6 win over host Richmond, Sunday. The Minutewomen led 5-4 at halftime before pulling away.
Senior Katie Ferris led UMass (18-1) with two goals and four assists and was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. She now has 330 career points, which ranks her 15th in NCAA history.
Sam Rush (two goals, one assist), Kelsey Sheridan, Tanner Guarino (one goal, one assist), Melissa Carelli (three goals) and Rachel Vallarelli (three saves) joined Ferris on the all-tournament team.
McMahon liked the momentum her team carried into the NCAA tournament.
“This weekend was probably our best lacrosse of the year,” McMahon said. “That’s when we should be peaking. We’ve wanted to have that gradual build and I think we’ve done exactly that. We’re going to push ourselves and push each other to hopefully be better on Friday.”
The team watched the selection show at Logan Airport in Boston, shortly after their flight landed from Richmond.
McMahon hoped UMass’ family, friends and fans would give them a home field advantage of sorts when they returned to eastern Massachusetts later in the week.
“Travel is significantly easier and while it’s not our home field per se, we’re going to hope to have ton of fan support and family support,” said McMahon, a native of Weston who has 13 Bay State natives on her roster. “The amount of kids we have from the Boston area and the ties we have around Boston, myself included, should help us with a huge push to get that home field advantage as much as possible. We play at BC every year in the fall, so we’re pretty familiar with the field.”