Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey loses third consecutive game Sunday in Pennsylvania

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Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

Robert Rigo/Daily Collegian

The state of Pennsylvania didn’t provide the Massachusetts field hockey team with an enjoyable Columbus Day weekend as it suffered two losses on the road and has now dropped three straight.

After being shut out 2-0 Friday against Lock Haven, the Minutewomen traveled to Loretto, Pennsylvania Sunday to take on Saint Francis where they were defeated 1-0.

After 52 minutes of scoreless play Sunday, the Red Flash’s Brea Seabrook knocked in what became the game-winner just in front of the net.

UMass coach Carla Tagliente recalled the play as a moment where her players were caught watching the game instead of playing.

“The ball came in the circle and we got caught ball watching and over-marking, leaving a free player open on the far post,” she said. “The ball got past us across the circle, took a lucky bounce, hopped over some sticks and ended up in that girl’s hands and she put it in,” said Tagliente.

The Minutewomen (6-7, 2-3 Atlantic 10) put more shots on goal than Saint Francis and outshot the Red Flash 11-to-10, but they were unable to find the back of the net. UMass’ Melanie Kreusch and Anne Dijkstra led the team in shots, shooting four and two respectively. Two of Kreusch’s shots were on net and Saint Francis (6-5, 1-2 Atlantic 10) goalkeeper Samantha Zeiders saved one of Dijkstra’s attempts.

In the closing minutes of the game, UMass had a final chance to win the contest but couldn’t capitalize on a penalty corner from Nicole Miller.

“We had an opportunity at the end, we had a corner where the ball hit the post and miss hit it. The opportunity was there, we just didn’t take advantage,” Tagliente said.

Despite losing yet another close game, Tagliente appreciated the effort that her team put forth Sunday afternoon.

“I thought that we did a great job of adjusting to their field surface and trying to adapt the game…I think the effort and the attention to detail and game plan was great,” Tagliente said.

Tagliente explained that the Minutewomen are used to playing on a field where the ball travels much quicker than the one they played on at Saint Francis.

“We play on a water based astroturf which is essentially flat, concrete flat. They play on a field turf, which is about an inch and a half tall fake grass,” Tagliente said. “The ball just doesn’t move. I mean it just doesn’t move.”

She emphasized that the slow pace of the ball prevented UMass from playing how it’s used to. It also limited playing time for players such as Hannah Farrell.

“You can’t play the same game and charge the ball. It ends up looking like a high school game, you just go forward and hope for the best, it is what it is…I am proud of the girls, we fought hard and did our best in this situation,” Tagliente said.

She added: “A different field requires different skills and a different skill set. Hannah has never played on field turf. She grew up in England playing on astroturf, so she struggled a little bit more on field turf.”

The different field surface slowed down the Minutewomen attack and the game as a whole.

“It limited the attack in general…it’s stifling, it’s stifling in terms of how you want to play and how you want to attack,” Tagliente said.

Next week, UMass will host Virginia Commonwealth on Friday, Oct. 16.

Matthew Zackman can be reached at [email protected]

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