The Massachusetts field hockey team took on No. 4 Connecticut on Wednesday night with the hopes of snapping a three-game losing streak, but was unsuccessful as the Huskies won 4-1.
UConn scored three goals in the first half, including two in the game’s first 13 minutes.
The first came at the seven-minute mark, when Ali Blankmeyer netted her sixth of the season as she was assisted by Marie Elena Bolles. Bolles then got a goal of her own in the 13th minute assisted by Allison Angulo.
“They came out very strong, and we just came out flat,” said UMass coach Carla Tagliente. “This was really the first game all season we’ve done that.”
To end the half, Huskies leading goal-scorer Chloe Hunnable scored her eighth of the season. Bolles would be granted the assist on the play.
The numbers were very one-sided in the first half as UMass goalie Alesha Widdall faced a flurry of 16 shots, recording nine saves. UMass mustered just one in the half, which was turned aside by UConn goalie Sarah Mansfield. Penalty corners were in favor of UConn 8-1.
UMass would pick it up in the second half. The Minutewomen took control on the offensive end, out-shooting the Huskies, 8-2. They also held the advantage in corners, 7-2. UM’s Lindsay Bowman cut the deficit to two with a goal in the 46th minute to make it 3-1.
The Minutewomen were unable to sustain pressure, and UConn’s Anne Jeute gave the Huskies the insurance goal in the 57th minute to secure the 4-1 victory.
“I was really happy with our play in the second half but we can’t expect to win the game after the way we played in the first half,” said Tagliente.
For the game, UMass was out-shot, 18-9. Widdall finished with nine saves while Mansfield finished with six.
“We were prepared but we just had a tough first half and they were more aggressive than us and it comes down to matching their aggressiveness which has been a problem for us all season,” said Tagliente.
Looking ahead to the weekend, the Minutewomen continue their road trip against Syracuse on Sunday. The No. 5 ranked Orange are 7-2 on the season and 4-0 at home.
In 2010, UMass defeated two ranked teams, one of which was then-No. 8 Syracuse on Oct. 3. The Minutewomen defeated the Orange, 2-0, in that game behind an 11-save shutout performance from Widdall. Jamie Bourazeris and Molly MacDonnell each scored while Nicole Cordero had both assists.
Syracuse is currently riding a four-game win streak with its last win coming against Boston University in the first of a seven-game home stand. The Orange edged the Terriers, 3-2, whom UMass struggled with last Friday night at Garber Field losing, 3-0.
Again, the Minutewomen face a potent offensive team, with 28 goals on the season, averaging over three a game. The Orange have out-shot opponents, 135-70, and hold the advantage in penalty corners, 68-37. Syracuse’s leading scorers include Heather Susek (seven goals) and Kelsey Millman (six goals).
“Our biggest problem is we haven’t been able to play a full 70 minutes,” said Tagliente. “We come out and play one strong half but haven’t put two together so really right now what we are lacking is consistency.”
Michael Counos can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.