The No. 13 Massachusetts field hockey team scored three unanswered goals in the second half to defeat in-state rival Boston University 3-1 on Sunday afternoon in the final non-conference game of the season.
A two-goal performance from junior midfielder Renee Suter led the way for the Minutewomen (9-4), tallying her first collegiate multi-goal game. UMass coach Carla Tagliente was proud of the way her midfielder stepped up and played a crucial part in the victory.
“Renee’s performance was really great today,” Tagliente said. “She hadn’t hit penalty corners for us in quite a while, so for her to step in today and rip off two goals was really outstanding, and it made the difference for us.”
After a scoreless first half, the Terriers (7-4) took the lead just two minutes into the second half, but UMass responded 10 minutes later when Suter scored her first goal of the game to tie it at 1-1.
It was only five minutes later when the Minutewomen took the lead. Suter scored her second goal of the day, both of which came off penalty corners.
“We knew that BU would be a tough game for us, so to come out on top will definitely give us confidence for the upcoming conference games,” Suter said. “We try to chop the season up into different time periods, and we really wanted to win the games over Northeastern and BU so we are really happy we won.”
Despite the game being scoreless at half, Tagliente wanted to make sure her team was still focused and would continue to play tough going into the second half.
“We didn’t change much at halftime, so we just told them to be patient and continue to stick to the game plan,” Tagliente said. “We did have a lot of attacking opportunities in the first half but we just didn’t do anything with the ball, so the second half was much better execution in the offensive end.”
Senior forward Molly MacDonnell scored her fourth goal of the season after adding an insurance goal for UMass in the last few seconds of the game to make it 3-1. Seniors Mel Sutherland and Alexa Sikalis each recorded an assist, as well as freshmen Izzie Delario and Charlotte Verelst.
For Tagliente, the past two games versus Northeastern and BU have been the most important ones so far, regardless of what the rankings say.
“These last two games have been huge for us, and can argue that they were more important to our season than some of our games versus higher ranked opponents,” Tagliente said. “Northeastern and BU are pretty solid teams in our region, and we haven’t beaten them in quite some time, so it is a huge confidence booster for us going into the conference games.
“Going into the [Atlantic 10 play] riding this high coming out of our non-conference play is really great. I’m not sure when the last time was that we won 70 percent of our non-conference games, so moving forward we are in a great position.”
The Minutewomen will look to open up A-10 play with a win this Saturday when they travel to Missouri to take on Saint Louis.
Jason Kates can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.