Atlantic-10 play begins as Massachusetts travels to Virginia to take on Richmond

By Matthew Zackman

(Photo by Cade Belisle)
(Photo by Cade Belisle)

The slate is clean for the Massachusetts’ field hockey program when they kick off league play on Friday in Richmond, Virginia.

The Minutewomen (2-6, 0-0 A-10), defending champions of the Atlantic-10, look to bring home another league title and their quest begins against Richmond, the team that they beat in last year’s championship game 2-1.

Neither UMass nor the Spiders have lived up to expectations this season as neither team has won more than two games in a row this season.

Richmond (4-4, 1-0 A-10) has several core returning players that the Minutewomen must watch out for. Rebecca Barry will keep the UMass defense working all game long, as she has scored three goals, however it’s her experience that’s the most important aspect of the Spider’s team.

Richmond also has four players who have each scored two goals on the season.

For the Minutewomen, Lauren Allymohamed has scored two goals in the last three games. Additionally, Brooke Sabia has managed to shoot 17 shots on net, which is three times more shots on goal than any other teammate. Finally, freshman Sarah Hawkshaw has fit well into the Massachusetts’ style of play and has scored a pair goals.

UMass head coach Carla Tagliente made it clear that the game against the Spiders will be a competitive match due to the amount of seasoned A-10 players on both rosters.

“They have a few key individual players that are good…I think it will be a good battle,” said Tagliente.

She also emphasized that Richmond plays a very fundamentally sound game.

“We are expecting a lot of pressure. They have great set pieces, and their attack and defense corners are good,” Tagliente said.

Tagliente is looking forward to league play because it provides her team with an added incentive to defend their championship trophy.

“We are the team that people want to beat. We need to step up and rise to the occasion,” said Tagliente.

Tagliente feels confident that her team is well prepared for league play because of their challenging non-league schedule.

“I think it is a goal of ours to play a strong non-conference league schedule to prepare us for league play and post-season play. We have been put in situations down the stretch where we have been tied, or down a goal, or up a goal and being in those different situations gives us experience. We are definitely ready for conference play,” said Tagliente.

The Minutewomen have not traveled in quite a while, and Tagliente believes that the road trip will benefit them.

“I think it is time for us to get on the road. Sometimes to get out of your apartments, or dorms, just to get into a hotel gives you the opportunity to connect more. … Sometimes it is good to get to a new environment,” reflected Tagliente.

 

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]