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Friday, August 21, 2015

UMass field hockey remains undefeated in A-10 play with win over VCU

Just two days after defeating conference rival Richmond in a penalty shootout, the No. 12 Massachusetts field hockey team was victorious once again, this time defeating Virginia Commonwealth 3-1.

Araz Havan/ Collegian

The Minutewomen (14-4, 5-0 Atlantic 10) used three different goal scorers to get the better of the Rams (8-9, 2-3 A-10), with senior Hannah Prince scoring the eventual game winner just two minutes into the second half.

Although her team got the win, UMass coach Carla Tagliente said the outcome of the game left a lot to be desired.

“I don’t think it was one of our better performances this year, and was a bit disappointed with the way we came out start to finish,” Tagliente said. “I think we had our expectation a little higher and I don’t think we were as sharp as we were over the past few games.”

Senior Molly MacDonnell opened the scoring for UMass with her seventh goal of the season eight minutes, 11 seconds into the game after redirecting a pass from freshman Charlotte Verelst into the top of the cage.

The score remained 1-0 until Prince doubled the lead at the 37:01 mark, tallying her fifth goal of the season, while fellow senior Alexa Sikalis grabbed her 16th assist on the year. After a VCU goal cut the lead in half five minutes later, freshman Izzie Delario sealed the game for the Minutewomen, scoring a goal with just under seven minutes left to make it 3-1.

Prince believes that the game from Friday took a toll on her team mentally and physically and knows that the team’s performance was not the best.

“I think we were a little tired from the game on Friday and we have definitely had better games than this one,” Prince said. “It was good to see everyone rally and still be able to score three goals, so I was proud of them for that.”

UMass wins OT thriller

In arguably the most exciting game of the season, the Minutewomen needed a penalty shootout to defeat Richmond 2-1 on Friday afternoon.

After two overtime periods were not enough to produce a game winning goal, the contest went into a penalty shootout, which is a new system the NCAA implemented this year, as opposed to the former stroke-off procedure.

In the shootout, UMass goals were scored by Verelst, Sikalis and Prince, while goalkeeper Sam Carlino stood tall in net, stopping three out of four Richmond (10-6, 3-1 A-10) shots. Carlino said she did not feel any pressure, despite this being her first time participating in a shootout.

“I live for this stuff, so I didn’t really feel any added pressure during the shootout,” Carlino said. “[Assistant coach] Roz [Ellis] always tells me to keep my feet moving, and just staying in front of the ball so when the shooter tries to get around me I can just dive and stop them.”

Tagliente was proud of the way her players handled themselves and knows that scoring against a team like Richmond is a challenge in itself.

“It was really great to get a win against a team like Richmond, who I think is really underrated and has one of the best defenses we face all year,” Tagliente said. “We knew that they would play a great game, so it does feel good to come away with the win, as we’ll most likely see them again in the tournament.”

Watching the shootout was very nerve-wracking for Tagliente, but thought her team performed really well in their first ever shootout.

“I thought they were great, considering how rare we practice penalty shots,” Tagliente said. “Our attacking group really stepped up and Sam did really great in net, being able to hop up and make clutch saves.”

The lone goalscorer for the Minutewomen in regulation was Brooke Sabia, who recorded her 17th goal of the season on an unassisted play at the 24:42 mark of the first half.

UMass will look to finish out the regular season strong next weekend on the road when it travels to Pennsylvania for games versus Lock Haven and Saint Francis.

Jason Kates can be reached at jkates@umass.edu.

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