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UMass field hockey sweeps weekend games

(Katherine Mayo/ Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts field hockey team won two games over the long weekend, finishing with a 1-0 win over Providence College after a 4-2 victory over Virginia Commonwealth on Friday.

The two wins improve UMass to 10-4 on the season and 4-1 in A-10 games.

The narrow win over Providence was a defensive battle in which the two teams combined for 12 saves on 21 shots.

“I think today was a great team effort,” UMass coach Barb Weinberg said. “It was a really evenly-matched game between us and Providence, and I thought our team stepped up big to get the win today.”

The game marked the return of starting goalkeeper Emily Hazard, who missed much of the week with a concussion. Hazard was at the top of her game, recording seven saves and shutting out Providence.

“That was huge,” Weinberg said of Hazard’s start. “[Hazard] definitely stepped in after being out six or seven days with her concussion, and had probably her best performance of the season so far. Her and the rest of the team’s defensive unit, they kept us in the game many-a-time.”

Sunday’s lone goal came on a shot from Sarah Hawkshaw in the 40th minute. It was assisted by Lucy Cooper.

“The [Providence] offense turned the ball over right about half field,” Weinberg said, “and we were able to really shift the ball quickly to our left-hand side. Cooper had the ball on the left-hand side, and was able to find Hawkshaw right in front of the net. It was a beautiful goal.”

The assist was part of a big weekend for Cooper, a freshman, who scored in the win over VCU and earned an assist on both game-winning goals. Friday’s game winner was scored by Georgie McTear, another freshman. Fellow freshman goalie Camille Lecrone made the start against the Rams in place of the injured Hazard.

“The first half I was super nervous,” Lecrone said. “I think defensively we weren’t on the game that we know we should be at, the level we should be at. But in the second half, we really stepped it up. I think as a team, we really worked hard to get that win.”

“Camille did a great job of prepping all week long,” Weinberg said. “She stepped up with some huge saves for us, and for that being her first start, I think she stepped up confidently.”

The Minutewomen went into Friday’s game tied with VCU in the conference, with both trailing Saint Francis. The UMass win, combined with two losses for Saint Francis over the weekend, vaulted the Minutewomen into a tie for first in the conference.

“For both of our teams, this game was absolutely critical,” Weinberg said. “And credit to VCU, they played us really tough.”

UMass trailed 1-0 late in the first half before scoring two quick goals to go into halftime tied. After halftime, the Minutewomen scored twice more and Lecrone shut out the Rams the rest of the way.

“We decided we needed to be better marking, which was a big fault we were going through in the first half,” Lecrone said. “Once we figured that out we were able to shut down their offense and get ourselves together.”

When asked what the team needs to improve on coming off the two wins, Weinberg said that they need to control the ball better.

“I would say our number of unforced errors,” Weinberg said. “Just continuing to take care of the ball and more completed passes, and building the ball up from the backfield. We have to limit our number of turnovers for next Friday.”

Next Friday’s game will be on the road against the Saint Louis Billikens at 6 p.m.

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

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