UMass drops overtime decision to No. 7 Northeastern on Friday

By Peter Cappiello

Maria Uminski/Collegian
Maria Uminski/Collegian

In its first home game since Aug. 31, the Massachusetts field hockey team fell to No. 7 Northeastern in a 4-3 overtime decision at Garber Field Friday evening.

Less than 10 minutes into the extra period, freshman Deirdre Duke scored the game winner for the Huskies, putting a ball on cage that trickled over the goal line after a deflection – robbing the Minutewomen of the first win at home this season.

UMass senior defender Thando Zono – who had taken a leave of absence for personal reasons – made an impactful return to Garber Friday. Along with defensive and vocal leadership throughout the game, the Grahamstown, South Africa, native tied the game on a penalty corner with 57 seconds left in regulation play, sending the match to overtime.

Zono stressed the importance of staying focused in high-pressured situations like the overtime period.

“Our game showed that we have to be ready and dig deep all the time,” Zono said. “If you lose concentration for a little bit, they punish you, and letting them take control for a little while is something we’re not happy about.

The extra-time heartbreaker came after a weekend at the Terrapin Invitational where UMass dropped a 5-0 decision to No. 3 Maryland and a 2-1 overtime loss to American.

The Minutewomen got off to a hot start, maintaining control and dictating the flow of the game with offensive pressure. Senior midfielder Kim Young recorded her 41st collegiate point in the first minute of play when she snuck in a tally while in traffic in front of the cage.

Molly MacDonnell turned up the heat when she extended the lead to two, scoring her first of the season, sniping the top left corner on a breakaway goal in the seventh minute.

MacDonnell said her instincts allowed her to put the ball on the cage.

“I try to be feisty, that’s what we work on in attack,” MacDonnell said. “As a team, one of our focuses is getting whatever you can into the cage. It may not be pretty but goals are goals and we’ll take one.”

Northeastern forward Kelly Dunn cut UMass’ lead in half before Crystal Poland was awarded a penalty stroke after being interfered with by Minutewomen goalie Sam Carlino. Poland scored on the stroke and added another goal shortly afterwards to put the Huskies ahead by one heading into the end of regulation.

Despite the loss, UMass coach Carla Tagliente was pleased with how well her team stuck to the game plan.

“We did come out and control things to start the game and our game plan was working really well,” Tagliente said. “But if we could change one thing, we almost stuck to the game plan too much and didn’t adjust to what Northeastern did when they adjusted (to our play.)”

The Minutewomen will return to action Tuesday, when they host No. 11 Boston University.

Zono said she’s excited to get back on the field as UMass looks to secure its first home win of the season.

“I’m excited to play on Tuesday,” Zono said. “It’s a new day, we’ll be smarter than today and we’ll be ready to go out guns-blazing.”

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