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 look for third-straight conference title

In its last meeting, Richmond had the Massachusetts field hockey team’s number.

The Spiders (11-8, 5-1 A-10), with the 1-0 win, handed the No. 19 Minutewomen their fourth straight loss and third shutout in that span.

The contest marked the end of the worst stretch of the season for UMass, in which it dropped from No. 10 in the Kookaburra/NFHCA Division I National Coaches Poll to No. 20 in a three week period.

Now, Richmond will get a crack at a Minutewomen squad that isn’t struggling, but thriving and looking like the 2007 team that won the A-10 Tournament for the second straight year.

UMass, who hosts the A-10 tournament this year, will face the Spiders on Friday at Garber Field at 12:30 p.m.

To reach the conference tournament this season, UMass had to win out in its last two A-10 games against La Salle and West Chester. Not only did the Minutewomen step up and claim both victories, but they outscored their opponents by a total of 12-3. The two wins brought their overall season record to 12-8 and conference record to 3-3.

The offense, which was lacking only a few weeks ago, came back to life, and saw multi-scoring games by Cher King, Katie Kelly and Kim Young.

UMass coach Justine Sowry feels the offensive momentum will be extremely beneficial heading into the tournament.

“I believe it’s going to help a whole lot. I think we were in dire need of scoring goals, and just getting the confidence going again,” she said. “I think the last weekend, we gained that confidence, and we’re certainly gaining the momentum needed to put together a great tournament.”

Unlike the other the three teams in the tournament, the Minutewomen have already had the experience of being in must-win situations, something that Sowry feels will help. The Spiders, on the other hand, dropped their last game of the season to A-10 foe Temple.

Despite being the favorite to win the conference this year, UMass will be the No. 4 seed and the Spiders will be the No. 1 seed.

Sowry believes the seeding to be insignificant, but does not mind seeing her team as the underdogs.

“We probably play better when we are under pressure. When we are the hunted team, we perhaps don’t perform as well,” she said. “Being the hunters, it’s probably a better position for us.”

In the last matchup with the Spiders, the Minutewomen allowed six penalty corners while only earning two. UMass was also unable to attack the Richmond zone, amassing only one shot on goal for the contest.

For different results this time around, Sowry knows that she will have to change things up.

“How we press against them and our intercepting skills are going to be crucial for the final outcome of the game. We will try to come up with a few more balls for counter-attacks. We probably will change our lineup a little bit to give them a different look.”

On the defensive side of the ball, the Minutewomen will have a challenge in trying to contain the Spiders’ best two players, Katelin Peterson and Sarah Blythe-Wood.

Blythe-Wood and Peterson are one and two in most of Richmond’s offensive categories, including goals and points.

“[Peterson] has size and good reach which can give you trouble. [Blythe-Wood] is very talented and very skillful, so we’ll have to keep an eye out for her,” Sowry said.

With all of the struggles UMass has faced this season, the Minutewomen somehow found a way to get back in the A-10 Tournament. Being on the brink of having their season come to an end, Sowry feels as if her team is playing with house money.

“We have nothing to lose at this point,” she said.

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

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