Minutewomen struggle out of gate

By DailyCollegian.com Staff

Geoff King/Collegian
New field hockey coach Carla Tagliente and the Massachusetts team entered the season projected to win the Atlantic 10 conference, but have had a hard time so far against non-conference opponents.

The Minutewomen are 1-3 on their road trip to begin the 2011 campaign. However, UMass was in a similar situation to begin the 2010 season when it had the same record, yet lost just eight games all season, all to non-conference opponents.

Both dynamics of the game have given the Minutewomen a tough start as they’ve been shut out in two of their four games, while the defense has allowed 15 goals already. Last year, UMass didn’t allow 15 goals until Oct. 12 against Dartmouth, 13 games into the regular season.

Eagles blank UM

UMass fell 5-0 in the season opener to Boston College.

The No. 14-ranked Eagles got off to a quick start with a Chapin Duke goal in the first minute and then never let up. Duke corralled the bouncing ball in the circle and then fired it past the reach of UMass goalie Alesha Widdall.

The score stayed the same throughout the first half, until Duke struck again 50 seconds into the second half to notch her second goal of the game, scoring off her own rebound. From then on, it was an onslaught of scores from the Eagles, tacking on three more off of penalty corners in the 42nd, 56th and 67th minute.

Action stayed on the UMass half of the field mainly, as BC outshot the Minutewomen 19-5, as well as in penalty corners, 10-4. Callie Sweigart recorded two of UMass’ five shots and Widdall turned away six.

Tagliente gets first win

Tagliente earned her first career win as Minutewomen head coach just two days later against Vermont at Moulton Winder Field.

The game was moved from Sunday to Monday afternoon due to Hurricane Irene.

UMass won the game 4-2, taking control of the match in the 19th minute with two scores that were just 43 seconds apart. Sweigart scored her first career goal off a corner, assisted by Christine Cutry and Alexa Sikalis. Sikalis then found junior Kim Young at the top of the circle for her second assist of the game, giving the Minutewomen a 2-0 advantage.

Freshman Renee Suter tallied her first collegiate goal in the 22nd minute to give UMass a commanding 3-0 lead.

The Catamounts were able to cut the deficit to two as Lauren Goracy responded in the 29th minute. However, Sweigart would pad on the insurance with her second score of the game in the 47th minute, assisted by Kate Heineman off a penalty corner.

UMass held the advantage in shots, 19-10, while Widdall made four saves in the victory.

UM falls in OT

The Minutewomen looked to carry their momentum into their next matchup against Kent State on Sept. 3.

UMass jumped out to an early lead with a penalty corner in the sixth minute off of Cutry’s first goal of the season. In the 23rd minute, UMass relinquished that lead, allowing Rebecca Lee to score on a close-range chip over an outstretched Widdall.

The Golden Flash took the lead to begin the second half when Julia Hofmann dribbled through the UMass defense to make it 2-1.

In the 49th minute, however, Nicole Cordero took advantage on a rebound to make it a 2-2 game on her sixth career goal to send it into overtime.

In extra time, Debbie Bell scored on a penalty stroke 2:47 into overtime to give the Golden Flash the 3-2 win.

Minutewomen shut out by Iowa

Cordero’s goal on Saturday would be the last of the weekend as UMass was shut out on Sunday against Iowa, 3-0.
Despite Widdall making a season-high of 12 saves, the Minutewomen offense were unable to help her out.

Niki Schultheis struck first for the Hawkeyes in the 21st minute, knocking in a rebound. Nearly six minutes later, Geena Lesiak made it a 2-0 game when she scored off a pass from Schultheis. Kim Scraper would put the game away for the Hawkeyes, scoring in the 48th minute.

The Minutewomen can look forward to their home opener on Saturday at Garber Field. UMass begins a four-game homestretch starting with Harvard this weekend, followed by Northeastern, Maryland and Boston University.

UMass was 7-4 on their home turf in 2010. They look to avenge losses against BU and Maryland from last season.

Michael Counos can be reached at [email protected]