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UMass field hockey loses A-10 championship to Saint Joseph’s in double overtime

(Jessica Picard/ Daily Collegian)

An overtime loss for the Massachusetts field hockey team gave Saint Joseph’s the Atlantic 10 championship after a dramatic comeback that tied the game at the end of regulation.

The game-winning goal came in the 95th minute when Emily Peters of Saint Joe’s deflected a shot from Anna Willocks on the back post. Despite scoring two goals in the final three minutes to tie the game, UMass (13-8, 7-3 Atlantic-10) was unable to convert again with the game on the line.

“I would say in my coaching career, this was probably the grittiest, fearless game of field hockey I’ve ever coached,” UMass coach Barb Weinberg said. “I’m really proud of this team.”

Saint Joe’s goalkeeper Victoria Kammerinke shut out the Minutewomen until the 68th minute, but after a slew of penalty corners for UMass, freshman forward Lucy Cooper deflected a shot on the back post to cut the deficit to one. Just over a minute later, fellow freshman Georgie McTear scored on another penalty corner to tie the game and force overtime.

“We never lost heart that we had any chance of losing this game,” goalkeeper Emily Hazard said. “Even from 2-0 down, I never thought for a second that we were going to lose, and you could tell that from everyone on that bench and from our coach too.”

Kammerinke credited the Minutewomen’s conversion on penalty corners for getting them back into the game.

“It all comes down to staying composed and staying calm, which we kind of didn’t do,” Kammerinke said. “So UMass earned their opportunities getting APCs [attack penalty corners], and we know they have a good APC unit, they used that to their advantage [and] got two goals against. That was what made them come back.”

After the furious UMass comeback, Saint Joe’s was able to re-focus and come out strong in overtime.

“To be honest, overtime, it’s always about just staying composed again,” Kammerinke said. “Once you have the ball, you just got to keep possession and finish it. But then the hard part is just, once you lose it, getting back and fighting for it. So I think we did a pretty good job there. And in the end, all the conditioning we do helps us keep it up.”

Just one day after the semifinal round, the overtime period proved taxing for both teams, but particularly UMass. The Minutewomen had multiple players who played the entirety of both games.

“I think it was tough, us playing 70 minutes yesterday,” Weinberg said. “We had our players in overtime who had played all game yesterday and all game today, literally did not have a sub. So we had three or four players on the ground in overtime who had some seriously tired legs. But they were gritting it out and doing the best they could.”

The UMass defense came out strong in the first half and shut down Saint Joe’s to keep the game tied going into halftime, aided by Hazard’s six first half saves. In the second half, though, the Hawks’ offense broke through, scoring the first goal of the game in the 42nd minute with a sharp pass off a penalty corner.

Hazard said that the play on the first goal was something they had seen on tape, but too well executed to defend.

“It was just great execution on their part,” Hazard said. “Sometimes you just have to give it to them and applaud them. You could tell that they had practiced it, it was a great goal.”

For the second straight year, the Minutewomen’s season ends with a heartbreaking loss. Last year, UMass made it to the NCAA tournament before losing to Maryland on penalty strokes.

Despite the loss, Weinberg reiterated her pride in the team.

“I’m really proud of the effort,” Weinberg said. “I think, in terms of leaving it all out there, there’s not more that I could have asked of them today.”

 

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

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