Improved goal scoring highlights weekend for UMass

By Peter Cappiello

Cade Belisle/Collegian

After a pair of tough losses in sudden-death overtime to No. 8 Northeastern and No. 12 Boston University last week, Massachusetts field hockey coach Carla Tagliente had a specific message for her team heading into last weekend’s games.

Score early and often.

The Minutewomen (4-6) responded with a total of 12 goals over the weekend, including a 10-1 win over Vermont in the team’s first home win Friday at Garber Field.

Tagliente was impressed by her squad’s response to her challenge.

“I’m going to start shortening the challenges to 25-seconds and see if they can meet me on that,” Tagliente joked. “This wasn’t about running up the scoreline at all, the goal was to play our game, play above the level of our opponent and to play our brand of hockey.”

Six different players found the back of the cage in what was UMass’ highest-scoring affair since a 10-goal outburst against Saint Louis in 2009, one short of the program’s all-time mark in a single match.

Senior forward Nicole Cordero talked about the team’s aggressiveness and refusal to sit back on their heels after being challenged by Tagliente, as well as the satisfaction of giving some younger players some time on the field.

“It’s funny, in our pre-game huddle with just the players, one of our girls said ‘lets try and get as many goals as we can so we can get some new faces in,’” Cordero said, “and we did, so it was exciting for them and it’s nice they had the opportunity for that to happen.”

UMass gave time to a slew of players on the bench as freshman midfielder Courtney Spleen, senior defender Elizabeth Karns and junior forward Alyssa Ineson all made appearances in the contest.

Acknowledging the role they play is difficult in any sport, Tagliente noted it was especially good to see players get rewarded after all the hard work they put in at practice.

Fast starts, slow finishes

Although UMass didn’t get similar results against No. 21 Albany on Sunday, a 3-2 loss on a penalty stroke, dominant play in the first half was a reoccurring theme for the Minutewomen.

However, poor game management at the end of the game is what did UMass in, according to Tagliente.

Junior forward Lindsay Bowman, who scored her first goal of the season on an assist from Alexa Sikalis, stressed the importance of avoiding mental lapses when the team is playing with the lead.

“We’ve had mental lapses as a team and we need to work on playing the full 70-minutes and not slipping up before then,” Bowman said. “We worked hard, but just didn’t get the outcome we wanted.”

Peter Cappiello can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MDC_Cappiello.