Benjamin Gottschalk | Staff Writer
March 31, 2022
Trailing by as many as 12 goals, the Duquesne women’s lacrosse team tried to creep back in, but ultimately fell to Massachusetts by a 21-9 count at Rooney Field on a bitterly cold and windy Sunday afternoon.
After the Dukes and the Minutewomen exchanged goals and sat deadlocked at 2 early in the first quarter, UMass went on an 11-0 run before surrendering a goal to Duquesne with just 45 seconds left before halftime.
The Minutewomen took a 13-3 edge into the break.
UMass — a program ranked nationally by multiple polls — controlled the majority of the game.
Duquesne Head Coach Corinne Desrosiers understood that the matchup would be a difficult one.
“We knew their offense was hot, so we practiced a conservative approach that would keep them out of the zone,” Desrosiers said. “And we knew they’d throw high pressure at us, so we talked offensively about seeing the inside, as they’d leave a lot open, which they did.”
The Minutewomen dominated the Dukes with a 25-8 edge in the draw-control category. That helped UMass stay on the offensive side of the field for much of the game.
As a result, UMass outshot Duquesne by a 40-12 mark (with a 32-10 advantage in shots on goal).
Mady Piersielak — Duquesne’s starting goalkeeper — made eight saves, but allowed 16 goals in 45 minutes of action. She was replaced by Rachel O’Toole for the game’s final quarter.
O’Toole allowed five goals while stopping three UMass shots.
The Minutewomen’s high-powered offense, as of March 29, ranked fourth in all of women’s NCAA DI competition with 16.7 goals/game.
“We were too worried about getting scored on to really promote caused turnovers and [to] get out and pressure them more. That hurt us a lot,” Desrosiers said. “We had talked in our practice yesterday, we had one day of prep to get out and jam up their hands.
“We just didn’t do it enough because the defense was the only side of the field really playing and they started losing steam.”
Four of Duquesne’s nine goals came during the third quarter. Two of those tallies followed a green-card penalty that was called on the Minutewomen’s Haley Connaughton.
“That green was the only one given, and there should have been five or six more,” Desrosiers said. “It’s for fouls in the midfield, and if there are three in a row, [then] there should be green cards to deter poor play. Only until I started in on the refs did they even notice it.”
Desrosiers also said that her team’s attack “didn’t have any problems scoring in the game.”
“They made one save against us and we put nine in,” Desrosiers said. “We just didn’t get the ball enough.”
At 3-6 on the season, Desrosiers’ squad wasn’t deterred by the defeat.
“This was a very good, nationally ranked squad with a lot of fifth-year players on it, over a dozen, against a team that starts five freshmen a game,” Desrosiers said. “We went in knowing the battle, and it just makes our young team better for the future. It’s always been part of the plan.”
The Dukes will return to action on Friday afternoon, when they travel to Virginia to take on the Richmond Spiders.