UMass Wins 11th Conference Title, Stephanie Kelly Sets SJU Sets Record for Points in a Single Season
May 2, 2021 –
In the last game of the regular season the Saint Joseph’s Hawks played host to the UMass Minutemen on Hawk Hill. The Hawks could have matched the Minutemen record in the Atlantic 10 North, but lost. A week later they meet again in Amherst, this time the stakes being much higher. The Atlantic 10 Women’s Lacrosse title was on the line and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. And the result was similar to the previous game. UMass wins 18 – 7 to get their 11th conference women’s lacrosse championship, the first since 2017.
Saint Joe’s got to the final defeating top-seed Richmond in the semifinal round 19 – 8 handing the Spiders their first league loss of the season. Saint Joseph’s held a 4 – 3 lead at the 14:22 mark of the first half on a goal by Sophia Kolkka. Then UMass took control scoring the next six goals of the game. Stephanie Croke put the ball in the back of the net twice in the decisive run.
Stephanie Kelly scored for the Hawks before halftime to make it a 10 – 5 game at intermission. UMass opened the second half with another six-goal run by six different players to put the game away.
Kelly headed SJU with 2 goals and an assist. Her second goal of the day was her 90th point of the season to set the new mark. Goal Keeper Melissa Semkiw made 9 saves.
Massachusetts decisively won the battle of draw controls by a 25 – 2 margin. Caitlyn Petro won 16 of the draws. UMass held a 38 – 16 advantage in shots, 27 – 13 in shots on goal.
Kaitlyn Cerasi posted a game-high 4 goals and 3 assists. She was named the Championship’s Most Outstanding Player. Croke recorded 3 goals and an assist. Kelly Marra, and Olivia Muscella also had a hat trick.
Alyssa Maney, Bridget Cerciello, Julia Pash, and Riley Delaney also netted goals in the title game for the Hawks.
Kelly, Kolkka, and Semkiw represented Saint Joseph’s on the All-Championship team.
The Hawks finish the season with a 10 – 7 record. UMass is 15 – 2 and awaits their seeding in the NCAA Tournament.
Written By: Glenn Papazian