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UMass field hockey beats BU, stays perfect at home

(Jessica Picard / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts field hockey team finished its homestand weekend against Boston University on Sunday at Gladchuk Sports Complex. In a second half full of penalty corners and huge opportunities on both sides of the ball, the Minutewomen (4-2) defeated the nation’s 16th-ranked Terriers (4-2) by a final score of 2-1.

After about 20 minutes of scoreless field hockey, BU got on the board first when freshman forward Ailsa Connolly took a pass from senior Kali Shumock and put it past UMass redshirt senior goalkeeper Emily Hazard for her third goal of the season to open the scoring.

The Minutewomen were unable to generate any scoring chances in the first half and only attempted one shot to BU’s five, where two of them were on goal.

The momentum started to shift in UMass’ direction toward the end of the first half, when veteran leaders like seniors Sarah Hawkshaw and Melanie Kreusch made strong hustle plays. They were diving for loose balls, blocking shots, and generating opportunities at the other end for the Minutewomen, which really began to turn things around for head coach Barb Weinberg’s squad.

“We had great senior leadership from an intensity standpoint,” Weinberg said. “Our backfield has played strong all weekend. Not only were they able to block shots on defense, but they were also able to generate scoring chances on the other end as well.”

Terrier senior Grace Boston had a great breakaway opportunity, but it was broken up by Kreusch, who got in front of the shot and deflected it with her shoulder. The Minutewomen then took the ball back down the field and drew their second penalty corner of the game, and Kreusch found Hawkshaw on a redirect to tie the game at 1 with 16 minutes to go. The goal was Hawkshaw’s team-leading fifth of the fall.

The Terriers followed up with a strong opportunity to retake the lead a few minutes later, but the shot was blasted against the crossbar, spoiling BU’s hope of a quick answer.

With about 10 minutes left, UMass had two penalty corner chances to take the lead, but they were broken up by BU.

UMass earned yet another corner opportunity (fifth of the half) when senior Anne Dijkstra scored on a bizarre deflection off a BU player when she took a pass across the goal from freshman Lucy Cooper.

“We knew we had to win the second half to win the game,” Dijkstra said. “Both goals were on penalty corners and that was because we tried to force more corners on them. On the attack we were trying to look for a foot in the circle so we could hit it off of their players and capitalize on big scoring opportunities,” she said.

UMass came away with six penalty corners in the game, five in the first half to have the advantage 6-4. However, they were significantly outshot by the Terriers 13-5. The corners and high-quality opportunities, mostly in the second half helped their offensive game in the match.

“In the second half, we switched up our press and fell away a little bit more to come up with intercepts and transition onto attack,” Weinberg said. “The front field was able to win corners at the opposite end.”

Boston University then got a corner of their own with just under five minutes to play and Hazard came up with a huge save after a shot was fired from point blank range. The Minutewomen played frantic defense and Hazard came up with another huge save to add to her total of three on the day, helping preserve the 2-1 victory for UMass.

Some great plays helped the Minutewomen  stay perfect at home, as they head to next weekend with a home-and-away split. First, they play Davidson on the road on Friday, before coming home to take on UMass Lowell at Gladchuk Sports Complex at 3 p.m.

“Next weekend is huge for us because it’s our conference opener,” Weinberg said. “So we need to continue to play the same quality hockey, and be able to play consistently over 70 minutes.”

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

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