UMass field hockey’s season ends with loss to Richmond in A-10 title game

By Jamie Cushman

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)
(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

There was no three-peat for the Massachusetts field hockey team.

The dynasty in the making came to a screeching halt Saturday when Richmond’s Rebecca Barry put home the lone goal of the Atlantic 10 championship game, six minutes, 27 seconds into overtime to lift the Spiders to a 1-0 win.

The loss ended the Minutewomen’s season as they watched Richmond celebrate its first conference title since 2011. It was UMass’ first A-10 tournament loss since Nov. 4, 2011, in the A-10 semifinals.

“We had the ability to win but we just didn’t execute,” UMass coach Carla Tagliente.

After two scoreless periods of regulation that featured play mostly in the midfield, Barry snuck one past goalkeeper Sam Carlino that secured the game and the A-10 title for Richmond. The goal came in semi-controversial fashion, as the Minutewomen were hoping for a penalty call during the chaotic play.

The goal wasn’t just Barry’s 15th of the season, it was arguably the biggest of the the A-10 Offensive Player of the Year’s career.

Scoring was the issue in the regula- season matchup as well, a game in which Richmond also won 1-0. Tagliente lauded the Spiders’ ability to limit scoring chances.

“They have a strong defense in general,” she said. “They have a few talented defenders and they’re structurally very sound in the defense.”

Spiders outshot UMass 10-4 for the game. Carlino’s five saves would have been good enough on most days, but in the end the Minutewomen’s lack of offense ultimately cost them a chance at a third-straight conference title.

Minutemen top Lady Eagles

UMass earned its spot in the championship by defeating Lock Haven 2-0 on Friday. The game played out as Tagliente expected, as Lock Haven defended with all eleven players, successfully limiting the Minutewomen’s scoring chances at times. In return the Lady Eagles failed to produce an offense attack of their own.

“The packed it in defensively,” Tagliente said. “It’s going to work for a period of time, but we went up 1-0 and they didn’t change that strategy until late in the second half. You’re not really going to create anything if you’re defending with all eleven players.”

UMass struck first when freshman Melanie Kresuch scored with eight minutes, 10 seconds left in the first half off a penalty corner. It was her 10th goal of the season. Kreusch finished the season with 21 points, earning A-10 Rookie of the Year honors.

Junior Brooke Sabia added an insurance goal when she put home a deflected shot once again courtesy of a penalty corner. Responsible for both goals against Lock Haven, the penalty corner has been the team’s best weapon offensively all season.

“We just have a really balanced penalty-corner unit,” Tagliente said. “We have a lot of different options. [Kresuch] has been drag-sticking really well. She’s a scorer but the options we have for others to tip off are really dangerous.”

Jamie Cushman can be reached at [email protected]