Minutewomen battling for second seed against Temple

By Matt Levine

Cade Belisle/Collegian

Friday’s clash with Temple is more significant than most conference games for the No. 18 Massachusetts field hockey team as both teams are tied for second place in the Atlantic 10.

Although the A-10 seeding will be affected by Friday’s game, UMass coach Carla Tagliente dismissed it being any more important than any other game.

“We will finish second or third so how we finish, it does not really matter,” she said. “It is an important game, but it is not going to make or break us.”

Last season, the Minutewomen (10-8, 4-1 A-10) locked up the second seed in the A-10 tournament and wound up losing to third-seeded Temple 4-0 in the semifinals.

Tagliente said that she acknowledges the challenges the Owls (11-7, 4-1 A-10) present to her team.

“There is not going to be one part of the game that is going to be easy for us,” she said. “They work really hard and they play with their hearts and they just battle.”

Knowing that her team will most likely meet Temple again in the A-10 tournament, Tagliente said that Friday’s game is a good chance to get to know what her team is up against come tournament time.

“We are going to see what they got and they are going to see what we got,” she said. “It is a good barometer to see where we are at with Temple, but it is also another conference game so it is important for that reason as well.

Last season, the Minutewomen played the Owls in late October as well and left Philadelphia with a 2-1overtime victory. Playing Temple prior to the A-10 tournament game did not help UMass last season, but Tagliente said that there is a major difference between this year’s team and last year’s squad.

“I didn’t think we were playing great hockey by the end of last season like we are now,” she said.

The Minutewomen went on a four-game winning-streak in October last season, but they weren’t dominating teams like they are during this year’s  current five-game winning-streak.

UMass is 4-2 against Temple over the past three seasons and has played the Owls in each of the past two A-10 tournaments, splitting the two conference meetings.

Tagliente said that she is not preoccupied with attainting the top seed in the A-10 tournament.

“At this point when we are already dinged up with the one loss, it is not that important,” she said. “At this point it is out of our control so it is not something we are focusing on.”

The No. 1  seed has won every time, including the Minutewomen in 2010.

Tagliente’s biggest worry for her team is that they will play with too much energy and too little brains, which, according to Tagliente, already occurred this season in a loss to Richmond.

“We have had to kind of come back down to the earth a little bit in the past few A-10 games,” she said. “A-10 games are always more emotional and Temple is obviously one of our rivals in conference and we are aware of that, but we talk about that a little bit and we just need to focus on UMass and playing our game.”

Matt Levine can be reached at [email protected]