April 18, 2014

Scrolling Headlines:

John Ashcroft faces criticism during speech -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Student rally in support of Gordon, LGBTQ community -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Thousands gather in Amherst Commons for 23rd Annual Extravaganja -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sexual violence is not ‘normal’ -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year after Boston Marathon bombings, UMass doctor Pierre Rouzier continues passion to help -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Photo Slideshow: UMass United Rally -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Get Yourself Tested at UMass -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass football continues move in new direction in annual Spring Game -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library labyrinth targets stress -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

There is nothing to debate about global warming -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass hits the road to take on LaSalle -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

No. 11 UMass women’s lacrosse looks to extend winning streak against Richmond -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive latest McCormack Executive-in-Residence -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Got a little Irish in you? -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass doctoral student awarded Soros Fellowship -

Thursday, April 17, 2014

UMass Dressage Team discusses the lesser-known sport -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Canelas: Things worth watching in Spring Game 2014 -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

‘The Walking Dead’ finale resurrects a dull season -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Five places to study at UMass -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

UMass tennis team battles injuries as season comes to an end -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Minutewomen look to take advantage of second life

Jeff Bernstein/Collegian

From complete devastation to absolute jubilation is how UMass coach Justine Sowry described Tuesday’s rollercoaster of a day for the Massachusetts field hockey team.

After falling to Stanford, 2-1, at home in the NCAA tournament play-in game at 3:00 p.m., the Minutewomen learned of their second life after an 8:00 p.m. NCAA selection show revealed that they had earned an at-large bid into the tournament.

“[Tuesday], I heard a few of the [players] say it was insanity, and it was,” Sowry said.

As the players let their emotions run down their faces following the afternoon defeat, Sowry and the coaches frantically tried to explain to their players that there was still a chance and that their fate would be decided later that night by the NCAA selection committee.

“We didn’t tell the [players before the game] about the opportunity of getting in [with] an at-large bid,” Sowry said. “We wanted them to play hard as if it was going to be their last game out there on Garber Field.”

All together that night to watch the results, the Minutewomen jumped to their feet and embraced each other while the television showed that Maryland’s first opponent would indeed be UMass.

Three days later, the Minutewomen have had another week of practice under their belts as they prepare to suit up and faceoff against the No. 1 team in the country on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“There’s no question in my mind that they will be focused,” Sowry said. “Having been so disappointed after the game [Tuesday], they will leave it all out on the table.”

UMass knows all the pressure is on the Terrapins, who went 17-1 in the regular season and rolled past the ACC tournament.

“They’ve been one of the powerhouse programs over the last 10-15 years,” Sowry said. “All the expectations are on that program right now so that should take the pressure off. [I’m] just looking for us to enjoy it, play from the very first minute and then you just never know.”

The Minutewomen hold an advantage, having played Maryland in the regular season. UMass lost the Sept. 19th meeting at College Park by a score of 3-0. But the nerves are already out, according to Sowry, and both teams have improved since then.

Maryland boasts the National Player of the Year in senior attacker Katie O’Donnell, as well as a supreme supporting cast. O’Donnell tallied 28 goals and 30 assists throughout the regular season, while four other Terrapins had double-digit goals to their name, including junior Jemma Buckley with 21.

Both O’Donnell and Buckley, along with sophomore Megan Frazer, scored goals in the lone meeting with UMass.

The Minutewomen, however, are no strangers to squaring off against the best teams in the country. Their 13-6 season included wins over No. 4 Connecticut and No. 8 Syracuse; two wins that played a major role in their selection by the committee.

In order to inspire more hope in her players, Sowry recalls the feat the 2007 men’s soccer team accomplished in defeating No. 1 Boston College in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.

“That’s a great underdog story that I think we can use with our team,” Sowry said. “We have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Sowry and the Minutewomen are relying on their blue-collar work ethic to pull off a similar task as the 2007 Minutemen did. It’s the work ethic that made them the class of the Atlantic 10 and now has them as the lone representative of their conference.

“In terms of our game plan, its go hard or go home, no guts no glory,” Sowry said.

UMass has already experienced heartbreak. Now it’s time to have fun. The disbelief that hovered over the players after Tuesday’s loss has transformed into assurance. The Minutewomen knew they belonged in the NCAA tournament and now they get their second chance to take out a powerhouse.

As Sowry put it: “We’re the giant killers, so we’re ready for an upset.”

Pete Vasquez can be reached at pvasquez@student.umass.edu.

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