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Offense explodes as UMass takes two games over the weekend

The Massachusetts field hockey team needed to take care of business on the road and came through with two important victories this weekend.

After a going through a string of difficult opponents to begin the season, the Minutewomen finally ran into two struggling teams in Vermont and Quinnipiac.

Before this weekend, it seemed as if UMass played a team ranked in the Top 25 of the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll every other game. Following the heartbreaking loss to No. 9 Boston College (7-2) last weekend, the schedule put the Minutewomen in a favorable position to pick up two wins heading into another challenging weekend with a matchup against No. 6 Syracuse (9-1).

The ease in the schedule came at a beneficial time, but also forced the Minutewomen to capitalize on the opportunity and focus in practice leading up to the weekend. With a move up to No. 10 in the polls this past week, UMass had to prove that it could defeat the unranked opponents as well as the ranked opponents. The high expectations combined with the potential of two trap games made for a dangerous weekend for the Minutewomen.

UMass though, was able to avoid a letdown by scraping out a win against Vermont and scoring its way past Quinnipiac.

The Catamounts (1-8) didn’t play to their record on Saturday and nearly stuck around long enough to pull off a win.

UMass struck first with a goal by freshman Kara Charochak 25 minutes, 15 seconds into the game. The score was only the second of Charochak’s career and came off of Makaela Potts’ third assist of the season. Nearly three minutes into the second half, Vermont answered with a goal by Chelsea Stevenson, knotting the game at one apiece. The Catamounts’ defense was able to slow down the Minutewomen attack for only so long, as Katie Kelly scored the go-ahead and eventual game-winning goal with 17:36 left in the game for the 2-1 win.

Once again, Vermont provided a tough game, something that the Minutewomen have become accustomed to when facing the Catamounts.

Sunday was a different story, however, and UMass held nothing back in unleashing an offensive assault which was its highest in over nine years.

Facing an unfamiliar Quinnipiac (1-6) team, the Minutewomen spread around the scoring to tally seven goals in claiming a 7-1 victory. Kelly provided a multi-goal game, scoring her team-leading fifth and sixth goals of the season. Also scoring were Potts, Charochak, Kate Heineman, Jill Powers and Nicole Cordero.

The lone goal recorded by the Bobcats came off of the stick of Tina Watkins on a penalty corner in the second half during garbage time with the game out of reach.

UMass’ seven-goal output was the most by the team since a 7-0 thrashing of Colgate on Aug. 30, 2000.

With the wins, the Minutewomen now move to 7-2 on the season and gain momentum heading back onto the road with a matchup with Syracuse this upcoming Saturday.

Jay Asser can be reached at jasser@student.umass.edu.

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