Minutewomen snap four-game skid with 10-1 rout over St. Louis
After suffering four-straight losses, three to Atlantic 10 opponents, and being held scoreless in three games, the Massachusetts field hockey team let all of its frustration spill out Sunday in a must-win stomping of Saint Louis by a score of 10-1.
The favorites to win the A-10 this year after claiming the conference the past two seasons, UMass scheduled to host this year’s tournament. The No. 16 Minutewomen (10-7, 1-3 A-10), however, were on the outside looking in for the A-10 tournament when they dropped their third-straight conference game, losing 1-0 on Friday at home against Richmond.
Through the first half and the beginning of the second half, the two teams were deadlocked in a scoreless game. In the 53rd minute, the Spiders’ (10-7, 4-0 A-10) received a goal from Katelin Peterson, providing enough scoring for Richmond against a struggling UMass offense.
The Minutewomen amassed only one shot on goal for the game and suffered a major loss when junior captain and leading scorer Katie Kelly exited the contest after receiving a yellow card with 10 minutes, 40 seconds remaining in the second half. The 10-minute penalty forced UMass to continue down a player until there was just 40 seconds left in the game, making it even more difficult for the Minutewomen to assemble a comeback.
“It was frustrating that I wasn’t able to be out there to help my teammates and I feel like I let them down,” Kelly said after Friday’s game.
With 9:04 left, UMass coach Justine Sowry pulled goalie Alesha Widdall and inserted Callie Sweigart as a kicking back to place an extra attacker on the field. Following the move, the Minutewomen were able to move the ball into the Spiders’ zone but couldn’t find the tying goal.
“That was going to be our plan if we were to go down with 10 or so minutes to go, and I actually think we played pretty good hockey when we made that move,” Sowry said. “I was actually pretty pleased with how we played that situation and it was unfortunate not to get a corner or two.”
Though the game added to a list of recent devastating losses for UMass, Sowry didn’t give up on the rest of the season.
“Unfortunately, that’s the way the cookie crumbles and we have to go back to the drawing board.”
On Sunday, in a do-or-die situation, the Minutewomen released their offensive tension, exploding for 10 goals against the Billikens (1-14, 0-4 A-10).
In a 10 minute stretch midway through the first half, UMass put the game away early with four scores.
At the 7:13 mark, Kelly gave the Minutewomen a lead that was never challenged, scoring her seventh goal of the season. Nearly three minutes later, she fed Kate Heineman for an assist. Kelly had one of her better games for her career, ending the afternoon with two goals and four assists.
Saint Louis had its only goal scored by Lexie Lindblad, her second of the year, on a penalty corner in the second half.
Sowry was pleased with her squad after Sunday’s game and felt that it was a much needed win to get UMass out of its funk and playing well going forward.
“Overall, it was an excellent team effort coming off a couple weeks of hard games,” she said. “I was very happy, everyone got involved. We didn’t have players looking to go one-on-one.”
The Minutewomen will look to maintain their momentum this week when they play Dartmouth on Wednesday, before facing two more A-10 opponents in La Salle and West Chester on the weekend.
Jay Asser can be reached at email@example.com.