The Massachusetts field hockey team went into halftime down by a goal in both of its games this weekend, but battled back to win each game, 2-1, and stay undefeated in Atlantic 10 play.
Thando Zono, in the second game of her UMass career, scored twice on Sunday to lift the Minutewomen over A-10 rival Richmond. Zono returned to action in Friday’s game against Lock Haven after being injured for much of the season.
Already trailing 1-0 in the second half, Zono tallied her first goal in the 45th minute of play on assists from Nikki Panciocco and Jaime Bourazeris. The goal came as a result of a penalty corner, something the Minutewomen have worked hard on perfecting all season.
Later, with the game tied in overtime at one goal apiece, Zono struck again. Senior Katie Kelly pushed a penalty corner to Makaela Potts, who issued a quick pass to Zono. The defender then hit the ball into the left corner of the net for the game-winner.
UMass (9-6, 3-0 A-10) managed three penalty corners and three shots, none of which were on goal. Richmond pressured the Minutewomen early and forced goalkeeper Alesha Widdall to make three saves.
By the end of the match, the Spiders recorded a shot advantage of 16-13, but UMass held a 12-7 advantage in penalty corners, the eventual deciding factor in the game.
On Friday, the Minutewomen faced Lock Haven – a team that just moved into the A-10 – and came out victorious to preserve their four-game winning streak.
“It’s really big for us,” Potts said. “We’ve never played Lock Haven before, and we wanted to send them a message that this is our conference. It’s good to come out and win our first few games in A-10 play, and a win over a new team is definitely good to get.”
UMass trailed early after Amy Hordendorf, the leading point and goal-scorer in the A-10, put a shot past Widdall in the first half. In what has come to be expected from the Minutewomen, their opponent controlled the pace of play in the first half, recording six shots and one penalty corner, compared to just three shots for the Maroon and White.
Nicole Cordero tied the game with her second goal of the season in the 42nd minute. Kelly dribbled past two defenders and sent a cross to Cordero in front of the goal, who promptly tipped it into the corner.
The game-winning goal came on a hard shot from Potts with 16 minutes, 40 seconds left in the game. Panciocco pushed a penalty corner in to the top of the scoring circle and Potts fired a shot inside the left post for her fifth goal of the season.
UMass controlled the pace of play for the entire last half of the game, winning seven consecutive penalty corners, and scoring on one of them.
“It was a pretty good battle,” UMass coach Justine Sowry said. “It was a little chaotic for us. We definitely got a little frustrated and started to get frustrated at each other. But we talked about it and we started to play how we should play. It was very pleasing.”
The Minutewomen have won five straight games and will face Temple on Friday, Oct. 22 at Garber field.
Michael Wood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.