Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey pulls off thrilling overtime victory against Northeastern

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Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts field hockey team secured its second win of the season Thursday, fending off Northeastern 2-1 in overtime.

Junior forward Nicole Miller scored the game-winning goal three minutes into the overtime period after Huskies goaltender Becky Garner laid out to block an initial shot that was deflected to Miller who roped it into a wide open net to hand UMass its second straight victory.

The Minutewomen (2-1) followed a familiar pattern from their first two games, scoring early and holding their opponent at bay for the majority of the contest. But Northeastern matched UMass through the end of regulation.

The Minutewomen opened Thursday’s scoring with a goal 12 minutes into the game via a corner shot by Melanie Kreusch. UMass didn’t score again for the rest of regulation and a second period goal from the Huskies’ Kristin Abreu sent the game into overtime.

Although the Minutewomen’s strong defense carried them again Thursday, UMass coach Carla Tagliente said it isn’t a facet of their game that they want to make a habit of relying heavily on as the season wears on.

“It’s only so long that we can defend, defend, defend, defend,” Tagliente said. “We have to work on counterattacking out of that and on what we are doing on the other end.”

Senior goalkeeper Sam Carlino epitomized the Minutewomen’s strong defense with nine saves in the game. Her only blemish for the day came after she saved a penalty shot that ricocheted straight to Abreu for the easy tally.

It was a well-executed play by Northeastern that featured Abreu being in the right place at the right time.

While often flawed, UMass’ offensive approach provided glimpses of its strengths Thursday. The Minutewomen recorded 12 shots and eight shots on goal against the Huskies’ defense.

Fast breaks were a common method of attack that displayed how fast and overwhelming the Minutewomen could be. Tagliente recognized that while UMass has shown spurts of success on the offensive side, the Minutewomen must find more consistency.

“Where we are now is not where we are going to finish,” Tagliente said.

Tagliente added that UMass is still developing its offense and has plenty of room to grow by the time conference play starts up.

“We are still in our growing phase right now, we are still developing what our identity is,” Tagliente said. “You know we have a lot to clean up in terms of being able to retain more possession and attack more often.

“I don’t necessarily know what our identity is going to be at this point.”

According to Tagliente, the offensive improvement needs to start with increasing its possession rate and having a stronger command of the ball.

UMass has the talent to be dangerous, as they showed in overtime against the Huskies.

“We have a really great overtime lineup,” Tagliente said. “We have a lot of skill and a lot of speed and when we have that much space they don’t even have the ability to defend the entire team.

“It’s about having more space on the field and our team really lends well to

So far, the Minutewomen have compensated for their offensive woes with strong defense. UMass looks to continue this success when it heads to Syracuse, New York on Sunday to face the No. 4 Orange.

Philip Sanzo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Philip_Sanzo

About the Writer
Philip Sanzo, Sports Editor
A six-run fourth inning gives UMass victory over Northeastern at Fenway Park.
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