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Strong defense leads UMass field hockey to a 2-1 victory over Vermont

(Collegian File Photo)

The Massachusetts field hockey team was in action at Gladchuk Sports Complex against the Vermont Catamounts on Sunday afternoon. Strong defense led to a scoreless second half as the Minutewomen defeated the Catamounts 2-1.

Head coach Barb Weinberg picked up her second win at the helm for UMass and she was very pleased with her team’s ability to eke out the win through the scoreless second half.

“I thought the team really followed the game plan today, we had some really good build-ups out of the backfield,” Weinberg said. “Unfortunately, some of our goals weren’t dropping in today, but some days a win’s a win.”

Vermont (1-1) was aggressive early on, managing to earn six penalty corners against UMass (2-0). However, the Minutewomen defense adjusted in the second half, only the Catamounts to one. UMass had eight penalty corners of their own.

“We took care of our marking better in the backfield and their players weren’t able to get in and behind us,” Weinberg said. “We weren’t giving up so many defensive penalty corners in the second half and we were able to intercept the ball better.”

It did not take long for the Minutewomen to get on the board as senior Sarah Hawkshaw scored off a penalty corner just one minute into the game. In her last game against Holy Cross, Hawkshaw scored three goals in just eight minutes of play.

Vermont would answer back when junior Lauren Tucker found the back of the goal on a corner shot that would tie the game at 1-1. Tucker’s goal would be the only allowed by the Minutewomen as redshirt senior goalkeeper Emily Hazard would come away with six saves on the day.

Only six minutes later, freshman midfielder Georgie McTear found the backboard and gave the Minutewomen a 2-1 lead – the score they ultimately won by. McTear has been working hard in practice on that play and both her and Weinberg were very happy to have executed it so well.

“The buildup to the short corner was really nice, all I was thinking is ‘I just need to get this in the net,’” McTear said. “I was able to get it just over the goalkeeper’s head and hit the backboard for the game winning goal.”

“That was a play that we have practiced quite often, and Georgie is confident in that play,” said Weinberg. “When she stepped up to deliver that, we had no doubt that she was going to get that shot off on goal.

After McTear’s goal, 50 minutes of scoreless field hockey would ensue. After an even first half shot total edge of 8-7, the Minutewomen would outshoot Vermont 7-3 in the second half, maintaining a 15-10 shot lead for the game.

While the win wasn’t as flashy as their 8-3 season opening victory against Holy Cross on Friday, the Minutewomen must be excited and motivated after sweeping the opening weekend, sitting at 2-0. Next on the schedule for the defending Atlantic 10 champions is a trip to California. First, they will face off against California on Friday night at 6 p.m. and then they will take on Stanford on Sunday, September 3 at 3 p.m.

Tyler Movsessian can be reached at tmovsessian@umass.edu.

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