The Massachusetts field hockey team’s pursuit of a 13th Atlantic 10 title ended on Friday against Temple in a 4-0 loss.
UMass came into the A-10 tournament with the No. 2 seed set to face the No. 3 seed Owls. The Minutewomen had played well in conference play with their only loss coming to Richmond in the regular season who received the No. 1 seed.
Earlier this season the Minutewomen defeated the Owls, 2-1, in overtime on Oct. 23. However, UMass never got it going offensively as it was shut out 4-0 by the Owls in this game.
Temple got out to the early lead with a score in the ninth minute by Amber Youtz off a deflection, for her fourth goal of the season. In the 25th minute, Bridget Settles did what she does best, scoring her 19th goal of the season off a penalty corner to double the UMass deficit. The Minutewomen were outshot 9-2 in the first half going into intermission down 2-0, still within striking distance.
“Temple got out to a strong start and we got in a hole early. So, come the second half, we had to change things up,” said UMass coach Carla Tagliente.
The second half did not fare any better for UMass as the Owls tacked on two more to put the game away. In the eight minute of the second half, Caryn Lambright made it 3-0 after taking a lead pass from Tori Cox and dribbled it into the circle to score. The goal was her fifth of the season. Then, with just under seven minutes remaining, Settles added an insurance goal for her 20th of the season. UMass outshot the Owls 7-6 in the second period but couldn’t find the back of the net.
“To try and get on the board we had to change things up and when you do that you tend to leave yourself vulnerable on defense and that’s how they ended up scoring two more goals,” said Tagliente.
Lizzy Millen, who played the first 65 minutes of the match, made three saves for the Owls while Haley Mitchell had a pair of saves in the last five minutes of the game.
Senior captain Alesha Widdall made six saves for UMass in the final game of her successful collegiate career. Widdall earned A-10 Defensive Player of the Year honors this season and finished her collegiate career with 47 victories and 25 by shutout. Along with Widdall, seniors Christine Cutry, Amanda Dietz and Nikki Pancioccio finish their careers with a 51-33 overall record, 21-4 record in A-10 play and two A-10 tournament titles under their belt.
In her first season at the helm of the Minutewomen, Tagliente led her team to a share of the regular season A-10 title with a 7-11 overall record and 5-1 conference record. Kim Young finished the season-leading UMass in points with 13 off of four goals and five assists. Widdall started every game of the season, making 118 saves.
“You know when people look at our record we look like just an average team but if you look game by game, we were in every game and had a chance to win every game,” said Tagliente. “But we were just lacking some experience this season despite having a very talented team.
“I am optimistic for next season, we recruited some really good athletes which will raise our teams skill level and this offseason we will be working hard on our technical skills and fitness,” added Tagliente.
Richmond and Temple played for the A-10 title on Saturday in Philadelphia. The Spiders shut out the Owls 1-0 to win their seventh title in program history.
Michael Counos can be reached at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at MDC_Counos.