UMass field hockey falls to Dartmouth in home opener

By Peter Cappiello

Maria Uminski/Collegian

Despite having the home crowd on its side for the first time this season, the Massachusetts field hockey team fell to Dartmouth, 3-1, in its home opener at Garber Field on Friday evening.

UMass (2-1), minus senior defender Thando Zono, found itself behind on the scoreboard when Lisa Masini gave the Big Green (1-0) a 1-0 lead one minute, 35 seconds into the first half.

The Minutewomen buckled down their defensive play after the quick tally, but were unable to find the back of the cage against goalkeeper Jenna Stearns, who was replaced at halftime by Ellen Meyer after making three saves and allowing no goals.

Dartmouth’s lead was extended to two when Masini scored her second of the night on a goal from Ali Savage, which developed from a penalty corner.

UMass senior and returning points leader, midfielder Kim Young, responded shortly after to put the Minutewomen on the board when she buried a ball off assists from Alexa Sikalis and Kate Heineman.

Riding high on momentum, UMass fought back, but after a would-be equalizer was denied by the goal post, Brooke Van Valkenburg added the final goal of the night to give the Big Green a 3-1 win.

Coach Carla Tagliente commented on the preparedness of her squad following UMass’ first meeting with Dartmouth since 2010.

“This was a game of us not being prepared,” Tagliente said. “Mentally we weren’t prepared when we stepped on the field and that’s not going to happen again with us. I haven’t played Dartmouth in years, but regardless of that, we’re good enough to play a lot better than we played tonight.

“[Dartmouth] came ready to play,” Tagliente added. “They were excited to open [their season] with us and they brought it tonight, but I’m disappointed because I feel like our biggest competitor was ourselves.”

Young took the loss as a learning experience and a tool to becoming a better team as the Minutewomen gear up to face Boston College this Sunday in Chestnut Hill.

“We know that we came out less than strong in the first half, but in the second half we picked up [our play, especially in] the last ten minutes of the game,” Young said. “We started playing our game and it was a little bit late of a start, but we’re learning from it and we’ll go from here.”

“We have a lot of heart on this team and we all definitely wanted to win it, we just have to come out stronger next time and we know it.”

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