UMass responds to rest with win over No. 24 Maine

By Peter Cappiello

With a week separating the Massachusetts field hockey team from its last game – a 3-2 loss against No. 23 Albany – UMass proved there was no rust to be shaken off with a 4-2 win over No. 24 Maine on Sunday at Garber Field.

The Minutewomen (5-6) got goals from four different players, including a dominant, three-goal second half highlighted by freshman midfielder Noralie Weusthuis’ first collegiate goal, which gave UMass a commanding 3-0 lead in the 47th minute and also earned her UMass Athlete of the Week honors.

The Hengelo, Netherlands, native said this was a day she had been waiting for. The goal came on a one-touch tally off a feed from junior forward Alyssa Ineson.

The freshman believes that the extra practice was beneficial for her and the rest of the team.

“Practicing almost every day was hard, but maybe that helped us,” Weusthuis said. “We were full of energy and played the full 70 minutes without getting tired. Everything fit.”

UMass coach Carla Tagliente praised her team for their performance, especially after getting plenty of rest in the seven days since their last game.

“The rest helped a lot,” Tagliente said. “We gave them two days off at the beginning of the week and I told the team after the game, they did a great job responding mentally to that break.”

However, the Black Bears (7-5) would not go away easily as freshman Nicole Sevey ruined UMass goalkeeper Sam Carlino’s shutout hopes on a redirection goal off a penalty corner.

Junior forward Lindsay Bowman responded by extending the Minutewomen lead to 4-1 just four minutes later when she put home her second goal of the year.

Maine cut the lead in half on a goal from forward Holly Stewart with less than two minutes left in the game, but the UMass defense held serve the rest of the way.

“It’s not easy to train for an entire week without a game and keep focus, especially coming off some of the hard losses we did,” Tagliente said. “But they came at it everyday in practice and it showed in this game.”

Freshman midfielder Brooke Sabia may not have been one of those four goal-scorers, but she contributed to the attack with a pair of assists, something she believes is just as valuable.

“I’ve learned that on the collegiate level, a lot of times it’s not so much about trying to score, but more distributing the ball,” Sabia said. “My first thought wasn’t necessarily to score because I knew I didn’t have a good position, so I took it down to the baseline and found open sticks in front.”

The high-energy contest was scoreless throughout the first half until senior Kim Young notched her team-high seventh goal of the year with two minutes remaining before halftime.

The Minutewomen extended their lead early in the second half when senior forward Nicole Cordero and Weusthuis each found the back of the cage to put UMass up 3-0, just 10 minutes into the frame.

Tagliente complimented her team for the way they executed the game plan.

“The strikers put on great pressure, the midfield stepped up and intercepted balls, and they just executed the game plan very well,” Tagliente said. “They did a great job of creating pressure and sustaining it the whole game against a tough opponent.”

Up next for the Minutewomen is a battle at Garber Field with Connecticut on Wednesday at 6 p.m.


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