Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey embraces success during current home stand

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Nicole Miller works her way to the Richmond goal. Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

(Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian)

After playing four games in the past ten days, the Massachusetts field hockey team will take the next seven days to regroup before the final game of its five game home stand against Stanford University on Sunday.

The recent stretch of home games has resulted in success for the Minutewomen (5-3, 1-1 Atlantic 10). Despite losing a double overtime heartbreaker to Richmond University this past weekend, UMass is 3-1 on the home stand and looks to add another win against the Cardinals, a non-conference opponent.

Coach Carla Tagliente has enjoyed her team’s break from traveling and believes that home field advantage has positively impacted her team over the last few games. The team has a four game road trip coming up that runs approximately halfway through October, but Tagliente has and will continue to embrace playing at home.

“It’s been nice,” she said. “The last game was obviously disappointing, but I don’t think we played horrible or that bad. We didn’t play as well as we had been prior to the Richmond game, but I do think that the home field advantage and comfort of playing at home has shown through.”

Spending another week at home will benefit the team as well, but in a more subtle way.

“We are not going to do that much more than we usually do, but we get a little bit more time to prepare. It’s nice to have an entire week and not have to cram things together,” Tagliente said.

Tagliente is pleased that she can use the time to thoroughly cover numerous details in practice and on video, citing more time to break things down instead of covering a lot in one day.

The extra practice and video review time will be especially important for the team as they prepare for a more concentrated league play schedule. It will also present members of the young team opportunities to step up.

“It would be great if we could get some more people involved in scoring. Right now I’m just more concerned about us getting more goals,” Tagliente said.

At this point in the season, the Minutewomen have leaned on Melanie Kreusch, Sarah Hawkshaw and Nicole Miller for goal production. However, over the last few games, players such as Shauna Rankin-Byrne and Izzie Delario have recorded goals as well. Tagliente hopes that they can remain consistent goal scores.

While all of these players were on the team last season, UMass graduated several veteran leaders. Although this is the case, Tagliente believes her current team is leaps ahead in terms of where her team was at this point one year ago.

“We have had good young leaders that have been stepping up,” she said. “If we look season by season in comparison to last season, we are further along than where we are last season in terms of stats, record and how we are playing,”

She added: “Hockey is hockey and any team can beat another team any given day. I don’t really think that the lack of performance in some games correlated to lack of leadership or experience.”

For now, the Minutewomen will continue to take it day by day as they prepare for Sunday’s game, which is set to begin at 12 p.m.

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]

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