Scrolling Headlines:

UMass hockey competes hard, falls to No. 10 Providence College in overtime -

February 26, 2017

Overtime goal hands UMass hockey its 15th straight loss in regular season finale -

February 26, 2017

Former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous gives talk at UMass -

February 25, 2017

Anti-racism workshop teaches tactics to fight oppression in community -

February 25, 2017

Providence power play haunts UMass hockey in 6-2 loss -

February 25, 2017

UMass hockey falls to No. 10 Providence on Senior Night at the Mullins center -

February 25, 2017

UMass men’s basketball falters in the second half, falling to George Washington 83-67 Thursday -

February 24, 2017

UPDATE: SGA announces second and third artist for ‘Mullins Live!’ -

February 23, 2017

Divest UMass and STPEC host panel on building ‘solidarity economies’ in the Trump era -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s basketball losing streak extends to 10 games after loss to URI -

February 23, 2017

Sixth annual Advocacy Day set to take place March 1 -

February 23, 2017

Panel discusses racial, sexual and psychological violence in response to art exhibit -

February 23, 2017

Judy Dixon enters final season with UMass tennis with simple message: One match at a time -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball enduring early-season limitation in playing in New England -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen softball begins season with cross-country travel, string of tournaments -

February 23, 2017

UMass baseball looks to bounce back from disappointing 2016 season -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior Hannah Murphy is Angela McMahon’s latest legend in the making -

February 23, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse senior defenders accept leadership roles in quest for ninth consecutive Atlantic 10 Championship -

February 23, 2017

Kelsey McGovern rejoins UMass women’s lacrosse as an assistant coach after starring for Minutewomen -

February 23, 2017

UMass men’s lacrosse looks to continue improving throughout 2017 season -

February 23, 2017

Minutewomen want to get back on track

The Massachusetts field hockey team did something this weekend that it hadn’t done since the middle of the 2007 season.

For the first time in two years, the Minutewomen (9-6, 0-2 Atlantic 10) dropped three straight contests. Uncharacteristically for UMass, two of the teams it fell against were A-10 opponents Saint Joseph’s and Temple.

Last season, the Minutewomen cruised in conference play, going undefeated and claiming the A-10 title for the second consecutive year.

Even with the struggles Saint Joseph’s and Temple have faced in the last couple of seasons, UMass coach Justine Sowry was not overly surprised by the outcomes.

“They’re very good teams, and they always bring their best,” she said. “When you’re ranked as high as you are, you’re always going to be hunted down.”

With the success the Minutewomen have had in the past, Sowry also felt her team might have been looking past both opponents.

“I was not surprised, but on some levels, I think our team was surprised.”

In the process of losing three straight games, UMass was shutout in two of them against the Hawks and in a 3-0 Connecticut loss, and scored only one goal in the other game against the Owls. The Minutewomen haven’t been a high-scoring team, and their identity lies in the strength of their defense. Their attack comes from the backfield, and is set up by the defense, which has had difficulties in its past few games.

“We certainly are still attacking, we’re still getting into the circle, but we’re probably putting ourselves in one-on-one situations rather than getting numbers in attack, so we can perhaps get our teammates in better situations to score,” Sowry said of the offense.

This season, UMass is averaging just under two goals a contest, while giving up almost a goal and a half per game. In order to reach postseason play and make a run, Sowry realizes that her team must pick up the scoring and relieve pressure off of the defense.

“We’re really looking at supporting each other off the ball, trying to get the confidence back, trying to get the repetition in this week so we can put the ball in the back of the net,” she said.

Things don’t look any easier heading forward, as the Minutewomen have a stretch of four games in the span of a week, starting Friday against conference foe Richmond. If UMass wants to play itself back into favor, it will get its chance with four remaining A-10 matchups the rest of the way.

“Our backs are up against the wall right now. We’re coming from behind now and it’s going to be really tough,” Sowry said. “We have to keep the faith and keep believing that it’s virtually one ball at a time, it’s not even one day at a time, it’s one ball at a time, one set play, [and] one penalty stroke at a time.”

Despite the tough circumstances for UMass, the coaching staff believes this could be a blessing in disguise and give the team the kick that it needs.

“As my assistant coach, Kelly Dostal, said, ‘this could be the best worst thing that’s happened to us,’” Sowry said.

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

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