UMass field hockey can’t overcome stagnant offense in loss to Richmond

By Collin Wiedersheim

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Nicole Miller works her way to the Richmond goal. Photo by Robert Rigo.

Nicole Miller works her way to the Richmond goal. Photo by Robert Rigo.


The No. 20 Massachusetts field hockey team couldn’t find any offensive rhythm Sunday in a 2-1 double-overtime loss to Atlantic 10 rival Richmond.

In front of an animated home crowd on a near-perfect afternoon at Gladchuk Field, the Minutewomen faced off against their conference rivals with a bitter taste still lingering from being eliminated by the Spiders in the A-10 tournament finals last season. UMass came out with a clear agenda: avenge last year’s loss, and keep its offense hot.

But the Minutewomen had a very quiet day in terms of scoring in a loss that halted a three-game win streak in which they tallied 13 combined goals. UMass had offensive control for much of Sunday’s game, but it struggled in converting possessions into scoring opportunities and shots on goal.

The Minutewomen had only two shots at the end of the first half, eight shots in regulation time and 11 in 99 total minutes of play.

“We’re definitely a young team,” UMass senior goalkeeper Sam Carlino said. “We’ve just got to keep learning and growing. We’ve got to try and get everything on goal that we can.”

The Minutewomen started off on the right foot with 15 minutes left in the first half as Hannah Farrell assisted Shauna Rankin-Byrne for a goal on UMass’ first corner shot of the game. For the remainder of the matchup, however, the Minutewomen fell victim to a stagnant offense.

“Our attack was too simple,” UMass coach Carla Tagliente said. “We were too focused on them, and playing hard, rather than playing smart. We didn’t think and we didn’t put enough skill on the ball.

“I think we just played dumb.”

UMass came out of the halftime break with a few early shots on goal, but Richmond’s offense struck first to equalize the contest with 17 minutes, 45 seconds left in regulation.

As the first overtime got underway, once again it appeared that the Minutewomen were in the right position to score the game-winner. A corner with nine minutes left in the period gave UMass some hope, but the Minutewomen failed to convert once again, with the Richmond defense forcing the stop.

The offensive struggles became even more apparent as the penalties started to accumulate for the Minutewomen. Nicole Miller received a green and yellow card and Izzie Delario earned two green cards in a physical battle. The latter green card came in the 98th minute in the second overtime period, when Delario vocalized her discontent with the handling of an on-field injury.

UMass’ Melanie Kreusch was hurt, but play continued until a late whistle called off the action. Delario wasn’t happy and official Gus Soteriades proceeded to give her a green card while pointing at Delario and exclaiming, “You’re out of here.”

Delario headed to the bench, even though a green card doesn’t warrant a player to leave the pitch.

Kreusch also would sit after being walked off. According to Tagliente, the injury is not severe and Kreusch will be fine.

The Spiders scored the game-winner soon after in the 99th minute. Avery Safford assisted Kelly Quinn, helping to end UMass’ three-game winning streak and setting them back to 1-1 in conference play.

The Minutewomen hopes to reignite their offense against Stanford next Sunday in Amherst.

Collin Wiedersheim can be reached at [email protected]