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UMass field hockey wins weekend set over Davidson, UML

(Tori Green / Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts field hockey team won both of its games this weekend, defeating UMass Lowell 2-0 on Sunday after a 4-0 victory at Davidson on Friday to move to 6-2 on the year.

The first goal in Sunday’s game came on a shot from the back post by Sarah Hawkshaw in the eighth minute, her sixth goal of the season. That proved to be all the scoring the University of Massachusetts would need, as the defense held firm the rest of the game to shut out the River Hawks.

“Lucy brought it up the left, and she was going at a good pace, and I just felt like if I held the inside and at the last minute sprinted forward, she’d see me and I’d be on the back post,” Hawkshaw said of the goal. “Back post is usually a dangerous position so getting there will help us.”

After Sunday’s shutout UMass has allowed only one goal in its last four games. On Sunday, the defense allowed eight shots on goal, but still kept UMass Lowell from scoring a single goal. Goalkeeper Emily Hazard finished with seven saves.

“The last three games, our defense has held it down pretty much for the whole game, both defensive penalty corners and in the field of play,” UMass coach Barb Weinberg said. “And our goalkeeper had a great game today.”

Defensive penalty corners were an issue for the Minutewomen, who allowed seven, but each time the defense held up. Senior defender Melanie Kreusch credited the team’s preparation for their success against corners.

“I think the coaches did a really good job in scouting which players were the key players in the corners and what they were going to do,” Kreusch said. “We knew, if the ball goes to this side, what was going to happen, or if it goes to number 25, then she’s going to hit it like that. We had a good game plan.”

On the other side, the offense had its share of struggles. UMass converted on only two of its seven shots on goal, with both goals coming in the first half. Coach Weinberg cited the positioning in the first half as the difference.

“In the first half, our strikers were in great scoring positions off the ball, on the far side of the goal. In the second half, we didn’t have the greatest scoring positions. We were able to convert in the first half, fortunately, but we need to work on that,” she said.

“We had trouble connecting our lines a lot,” Hawkshaw added. “So we were getting shots on goal and with the rebounds, we didn’t have lines behind us to catch up with the balls coming out. We need to work on that because rebounds are always dangerous, and I think once we fix that more of our shooting opportunities are going to come out with goals.”

The win over Davidson on Friday marked the first Atlantic 10 game of the season for UMass. Going in, the Minutewomen had gone more than two weeks without scoring more than two goals in a game, but the offense came alive in North Carolina. Redshirt junior forward Grace Horgan paced the offense with two goals, scoring twice in the second half to pad the lead.

“On the first goal, I just hustled my butt off and got down there and finished it off and the second one was a tip off the back post,” Horgan said. “It was definitely an exciting game, it was our first A-10 game of the year, and the past few years have been iffy games with Davidson, so we really wanted to come out strong and put a lot of goals away.”

The team’s defense was similarly strong on Friday, shutting out winless Davidson while allowing only three penalty corners and four shots on goal. Redshirt senior Emily Hazard was flawless in goal, ending the day with three saves. Freshman goalkeeper Camille Lecrone came in for UMass after the fourth goal and made one save.

The offensive production came after two weeks when UMass struggled to convert scoring opportunities. On Friday, the Minutewomen came through, scoring four goals on eight shots on goal and scoring on two of their four penalty corners.

In a game played in 80-degree heat, 23 players saw the field for UMass, more than any other game this season. The victory over UMass Lowell also came in scorching heat, and Weinberg said that the weather on Friday helped prepare them for Sunday’s win.

“The good news for us, we were able to roll a lot of our new players on Friday night, so they prepared to be subbed in today, and they did a great job when they were subbed in.”

Following the wins, UMass goes on the road to Pennsylvania to play two games in the Atlantic 10 conference, facing off against St. Francis on Friday before a Sunday game against Lock Haven.

Thomas Haines can be reached at thaines@umass.edu.

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