Scrolling Headlines:

UMass women’s basketball suffers disappointing loss to St. Bonaventure at Mullins Center Thursday -

January 19, 2017

REPORT: Tom Masella out as defensive coordinator for UMass football -

January 19, 2017

Zach Lewis, bench carry UMass men’s basketball in win over St. Joe’s -

January 19, 2017

UMass women’s basketball handles Duquesne at home -

January 16, 2017

UMass men’s basketball’s late comeback falls short after blowing 15-point first-half lead -

January 15, 2017

UMass hockey outlasted at home against No. 6 UMass Lowell -

January 14, 2017

Hailey Leidel hits second buzzer beater of the season to give UMass women’s basketball win over Davidson -

January 13, 2017

UMass football hosts Maine at Fenway Park in 2017 -

January 12, 2017

UMass men’s basketball snaps losing streak and upsets Dayton Wednesday night at Mullins Center -

January 11, 2017

UMass women’s track and field takes second at Dartmouth Relays -

January 10, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 5 Boston University at Frozen Fenway -

January 8, 2017

UMass professor to make third appearance on ‘Jeopardy!’ -

January 8, 2017

UMass women’s basketball suffers brutal loss on road against Saint Joseph’s -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops thirds straight, falls to VCU 81-64 -

January 7, 2017

UMass men’s basketball drops tightly-contested conference matchup against George Mason Wednesday night -

January 4, 2017

Late-game defense preserves UMass women’s basketball’s win against rival Rhode Island -

January 4, 2017

AIC shuts out UMass hockey 3-0 at Mullins Center -

January 4, 2017

UMass professor to appear as contestant on ‘Jeopardy!’ Thursday night -

January 4, 2017

Penalties plague UMass hockey in Mariucci Classic championship game -

January 2, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falls in A-10 opener to St. Bonaventure and its veteran backcourt -

December 30, 2016

Minutewomen face Huskies in rivalry match

Exhaustion is the word surrounding the Massachusetts field hockey team, as it creeps ever closer to Atlantic 10 conference play. Two non-conference games remain, and No. 6 Connecticut hosts the Minutewomen Friday night at 7 p.m.

UMass (9-3) won the first of its four-game road tilt when the Minutewomen beat Harvard (4-5) on a Makaela Potts penalty stroke on Tuesday.

In that game, UMass used two reserves and three in the game before that. Following its 5-2 loss to No. 6 Syracuse (11-1), in which the Minutewomen rested all reserve players, the UMass offense sputtered, scoring two total goals in its next two games – both against unranked opponents.

“We’re going to continue to battle our fatigue, and we have to stick to our game plan, without question,” UMass coach Justine Sowry said. “When we get fatigued, we make mistakes that we can’t afford to make. Eventually our luck will run out if we keep making those mistakes.”

Yet even with the offense tiring, The Minutewomen have totaled 31 goals in 12 games this season, as opposed to 26 through the same time span last season, when UMass finished 17-5 in its NCAA tournament season.

The Minutewomen faced the Huskies (11-1) much earlier in the 2008 season. At that point, UMass was 3-1 before UConn extended its undefeated streak to five with a 1-0 victory over UMass. In that game, then-freshman Alesha Widdall faced five Husky penalty corners in the first four minutes of the second half, including one of which that preceded the game-winning goal by UConn’s Katie Semanoff. It was the only time all season that an opponent shut out the Minutewomen.

In that contest, UMass had four penalty corners to the Huskies’ 11. This season, UMass is third in the A-10 with 76 penalty corners. However, opponents have totaled 110 corners against the Minutewomen. While defense is a strong aspect of UMass’ game, Sowry has a younger team and with the new self-hit rule put in place this season, the Minutewomen aren’t showing much patience on defense.

Given that UMass went to the NCAA tournament last season, Sowry has lofty goals for her team, regardless of collective experience.

“We have to go back to basic defensive principles and stay disciplined about it, regardless of the circumstances,” said Sowry. “Ultimately, our goal is to get to the NCAA tournament and go deep into it.”

The perfect opportunity to test the defense comes in Storrs, Conn. The Huskies have 52 goals this season, but Widdall and the Minutemen have held opponents to 1.23 goals per-game so far this season.

Forward Loren Sherer leads UConn with 19 goals, 10 assists this season, including six game-winners. Sherer comes to UConn from Durham University in England, where she is also a member of the U-21 national team. Sherer scored a point in each of the Huskies’ games this season, including six multi-goal games, three of which were hat tricks.

Sherer shares the forward line with Kim Kryzk and Allison Angulo, who have 10 assists apiece this season. Graduate student Andrea Mainiero has a 1.03 goals-against average and a .782 save percentage this season.

UConn has 286 shots on the season, outshooting opponents 3-1. The Huskies average four goals per-game this season, and opponents have given up 115 penalty corners against them. Compared to UMass’ 21, UConn’s 52 assists this season represent a team that has good ball movement. Thirty six of the Huskies’ 52 goals are first-half goals, so the Huskies are sure to pressure the Minutewomen immediately after the opening whistle. Given the individual scoring leaders, it’s likely that Sherer will see numerous touches in the game.

Mike Gillmeister can be reached at mgillmei@student.umass.edu.

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