An early second half goal by sophomore Brooke Sabia gave the No. 7 Massachusetts field hockey team a 1-0 victory over Ohio State Saturday afternoon in the Syracuse Invitational.
After a scoreless first half, Sabia scored her eighth goal of the season off a penalty corner assisted by senior Alexa Sikalis and freshman Charlotte Verelst about nine minutes into the second half to give UMass (6-1) a lead it would not surrender.
Just one day after losing a hard fought battle to No. 6 Syracuse, UMass coach Carla Tagliente was happy with the way her team bounced back against the Buckeyes (2-3).
“It was very important for us to get back out there after playing a great game against a great team like Syracuse,” Tagliente said. “Ohio State doesn’t have the record that Syracuse has, but I still rate them very highly, and we were very surprised at how strong they were.”
Not only did the Minutewomen pick up the victory, but also collected their third shutout of the season. Tagliente has attributed UMass’ standout defense to the experience of the group, including reigning A-10 Defensive Player of the Year junior Lauren Allymohamed.
“They’ve done a really good job, especially our backs and defensive midfielders,” Tagliente said. “To have a lot of experience back there is always helpful because it helps set up the attack and create more offensive opportunities.”
UMass outshot the Buckeyes 10-8, but both teams only had five penalty corners each. Sophomore goalkeeper Sam Carlino was credited with the shutout after having to make only four saves in the game.
UMass suffers first loss
The Minutewomen suffered their first loss of the season Friday afternoon when they fell to Syracuse 2-1 in their first game of the Syracuse Invitational.
UMass got off to a slow start, giving up a goal just 3:20 into the game to Orange junior Lauren Brooks. The Minutewomen responded with a goal of their own five minutes later when senior Molly MacDonnell scored her second goal of the season, which was assisted by senior Lindsay Bowman.
The half ended 1-1, but Syracuse quickly jumped back out to a 2-1 lead when senior Leonie Geyer scored the game winning goal just about 10 minutes into the second half. The Minutewomen averaged 3.6 goals in its first five games of the season, and Friday marked the first game in which UMass failed to score more than one goal.
“Our offensive production was not what it has been the past few games and [we] just didn’t take advantage of our opportunities,” Tagliente said. “Statistically, the offensive production wasn’t there.”
Although the Minutewomen lost, Tagliente believes that the stats – UMass was outshot 7-4 – weren’t really telling of the game. She thought that her team played some of the best hockey it has all season.
“I thought we controlled and dominated the game in the middle of the field and really held possession and responded really well after giving up that early goal, but we just didn’t finish our opportunities in the attacking end,” Tagliente said.
The Minutewomen look to move to 7-1 on the year when they finish off a brief three-game road trip in Storrs, Conn. on Wednesday to take on Connecticut in a non-conference battle.
Jason Kates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.