Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Offensive field day allows UMass field hockey to cruise to victory over VCU

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Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

The Massachusetts’ field hockey team finally broke through offensively in a 6-0 rout of Virginia Commonwealth Friday.

The offensive field day, which ended the Minutewomen’s three-game losing streak, saw six players put shots in the net, four different players tally assists and one player score her first career goal.

UMass coach Carla Tagliente said she was extremely pleased with the offensive output after being shut out in the previous three losses.

“It’s been a rough patch of not getting much offensive production, so the win feels good and I’m just happy for the players,” she said. “It feels really good for them because it’s not like we don’t work on it, to finally see the reward come off from their hard work is good to see.”

Anne Dijkstra, Izzie Delario, Melanie Kreusch, Nicole Miller, Hannah Farrell and Maggie Harrison scored goals in the win. Seeing six different players score brought a noticeable smile to Tagliente’s face following the game.

“We’ve talked about finding teammates and passing and running, I thought they did a good job of sharing the ball, getting into scoring spaces and putting the balls away,” Tagliente said.

The Minutewomen (7-7, 3-3 Atlantic 10) had six total penalty corners on the day and converted 50 percent of them off of Farrell, Kreusch and Dijkstra goals. Tagliente said she believes that the penalty corner efficiency will be crucial looking forward to postseason aspirations and maintaining offensive efficiency.

“If we don’t have that piece going then we are going to struggle,” Tagliente said. “That’s our part of the game that has to be clicking come post season and it’s good that we got back on track today.”

Tagliente noted that the game against the Rams was a great opportunity for her to give some playing time to players that don’t usually get extended game time. For Harrison, a freshman who scored her first goal of her career Friday, the opportunity to contribute on offense meant a lot.

“It’s really exciting, we’ve been doing a lot of scoring drills in practice. I actually didn’t think I scored at first, but it’s really fun,” Harrison said.

Harrison mentioned that over the past week in practice, UMass has worked a lot on important offensive tactics, which allowed them to have such an easy time against VCU (4-9, 2-4 A-10).

“One of our big problems was positioning in the circle. We were getting a lot of shots that might not be on goal…a lot of what we were doing was getting our sticks down, diving, getting in front of the goalie to clean up in the circle,” Harrison said.

With the victory over VCU, the Minutewomen have two conference and two non-conference games coming up before the end of the regular season. After being shut out the previous three games, the Minutewomen will rely on their strong mentality that they exhibited against the Rams to remain competitive and keep their offensive output high in their last stretch of games.

“I think we just need to keep the same mentality. They were focused and disciplined today,” Tagliente said. “I tell them to relax and share the ball and the discipline on the penalty corners and execution will be there for us.”

Harrison agreed and added that UMass’ effort in practice will also help them win their upcoming games.

“We just take what we are doing here, watch film and keep doing what we are doing what we are doing and bring it to the next games to keep the focus and unselfishness that we had in this game,” Harrison said.

The Minutewomen next take on nonconference opponent Boston College at 3 p.m. Sunday in Amherst.

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]

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