In its two losses this season, the No. 7 Massachusetts field hockey team was done in by a lack of shot attempts offensively.
Brooke Sabia wouldn’t let it happen again on Sunday.
The sophomore scored two goals on 11 shots to lead the Minutewomen to a 5-1 win over Hofstra at Garber Field in the first leg of a three-game homestand.
UMass (7-2) outshot the Pride 15-0 in the first half and 28-5 for the game and had seven penalty corners while Hofstra failed to get one.
The offensive production was refreshing Sabia and the Minutewomen, who had managed just five shots in their loss to Connecticut on Wednesday.
“I thought it was really great to have a game like this,” said Sabia, who leads the team with 11 goals. “It’s hard going and losing to teams like Syracuse and UConn and not having many shots on goal, so just bouncing back and executing the shots we took was a great feeling and boosts our confidence a lot.”
Sabia opened the scoring 10 minutes, 16 seconds into the game off of a penalty corner assisted by seniors Alexa Sikalis and Hannah Prince. The Minutewomen doubled their lead almost nine minutes later when junior Lauren Allymohamed scored her third of the season when she redirected a shot by Prince after a penalty corner.
UMass coach Carla Tagliente was pleased with her team’s fast start to the game.
“Before the game we talked with the team about how the quickest way to erase our minds from the UConn game is to come out and have a strong performance and I thought we did,” Tagliente said. “We’ve been struggling a bit getting shots and scoring goals so I thought we did a great job tallying five goals off 28 shots.”
Penalty corners continue to generate goals for the Minutewomen this season, as three of their five goals against the Pride (3-6) came off of the set piece.
“I think our penalty corners have been outstanding, we just have to draw more of them,” Tagliente said. “It’s not a stat that we chart, but I would venture to guess that our execution rate is one of the top in the country.”
Sabia credits the team’s success on penalty corners to the efforts of everyone on the field and being able to fill their roles correctly.
“I think everyone is stepping in and executing the role they’ve been given, just as I’ve been executing my role as the main hitter,” Sabia said. “The key to executing these set pieces is definitely having everyone on the right mark, and just hoping everything falls into place.”
The second half was much of the same for UMass, with Allie Sabia, the twin sister of Brooke, scoring her first goal of the season four minutes into the half to make it 3-0. The Minutewomen put it out of reach four minutes later when Brooke Sabia tallied her second of the day, with senior Molly MacDonnell getting the assist.
Hofstra ended the shutout to make it 4-1 with a little less than five minutes to go in the game, but freshman Charlotte Verelest got the goal back for UMass, scoring her first of the season with five seconds left to end it at 5-1.
Despite winning this game with ease, Tagliente still believes her team can improve in some areas.
“We still have to get back to work on Tuesday, as there are still some things that stand out that we have to work on, but overall I thought our team did a great job today,” Tagliente said.
The Minutewomen hope to continue this homestand with another win when they take on New Hampshire on Friday afternoon.
Jason Kates can be reached at email@example.com