The lacrosse team will host this year’s A-10 Tournament this week at Geasey Field.
Geasey Field will play host to the Atlantic Ten Conference Championships for the first time from April 29 through May 1. The conference boasts eight teams in lacrosse, but only the Top 4 teams will make the tournament. The four schools vying for the conference crown this year will be Massachusetts, Richmond, Temple and Duquesne.
Semifinal action will begin on April 29, and the matchups have been set between the No. 1 seed, defending champion UMass and the No. 4 seed Duquesne. The second match of the day will be between the No. 2 seed Richmond, and the host, No. 3 seed Temple, who will have plenty of motivation playing at home against the team who knocked it out of the tournament last season. The winner of the two games will play for the championship at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 1.
The Minutemen will make the trip down from Amherst as the heavy favorite after winning two-straight A-10 Championships. The team won its second-straight last year in Pittsburgh after defeating Richmond, 12-10.
Richmond could use the memory of that loss as motivation against UMass but will first have to beat Temple. The Owls have their own motivation as they came in to the tournament last year as the No. 4 seed before being sent home by these same Spiders after a close 13-15 loss in the opening round.
The team started 1-7 through the first eight games, but turned it on once conference play started by winning six of its last eight to finish the season with a record of 5-2 in conference and 7-9 overall.
The Owls will be led by sophomore midfielder Charlotte Swavola who led the team with 35 goals and 12 assists, and junior midfielder Missy Schweitzer who added 24 goals and six assists of her own.
The Spiders come in winning six of their last seven, with the only loss during that span coming against UMass. They finished the season with a 6-1 record in A-10 play and 9-8 overall.
Junior midfielder Mary Flowers led the Spiders with 37 goals and 23 assists, while senior attacker Danielle Schaevitz complemented with 33 goals and eight assists. The two teams met once already this season with Richmond coming out victorious with a 13-9 win at Geasey Field in early April.
In the other semifinal matchup, Duquesne will look to upset the heavily favored UMass. Duquesne had to scramble to make the tournament as it was a part of that mid-season logjam of teams fighting to get in. It won its last three but didn’t officially clinch a spot until fifth-place George Washington lost its must-win game to Richmond, 18-10, over the final weekend of the season.
The team finished the season with a record of 4-3, 11-6. Duquesne boasts the top goal scorer in the conference, senior attacker Katie Rekart, who scored 46 goals and 13 assists.
UMass counters with the best goalie in the conference, junior Katie Florence, who has a .482 save percentage and the second-leading goal scorer in the conference, freshman attacker Katie Ferris, who ended the season one goal behind Rekart. UMass will look to continue on its six-game win streak and win its third-straight conference title.
UMass was undefeated in conference play and defeated Duquesne 13-6 in their only previous meeting this season. Their final record was 8-0, 14-2.
If both underdogs are able to pull off victories, there could be a repeat of the double-overtime match that took place earlier this month at Geasey Field. Temple came away victorious, 16-15, against Duquesne.
Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.