UMass field hockey shuts out VCU in Friday rout

By Tyler Fiedler

Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian
Alec Zabrecky/Daily Collegian

From the moment the referee blew the opening whistle, the Massachusetts field hockey team had total control of possession and the game Friday against Virginia Commonwealth.

Junior Izzie Delario wasted no time getting the Minutewomen (7-7, 3-3 Atlantic 10) on the board one minute, 53 seconds into the game with a shot from just inside the circle rifled past VCU goalkeeper Kendall Clifton. From there, he Minutewomen didn’t look back as their aggressive offensive attack resulted in a 6-0 shutout.

“They were very focused and disciplined today,” UMass coach Carla Tagliente said. “It was good that we got back on track today.”

UMass has struggled to maintain consistency all season and has gone through a recent stretch of offensive struggles. However, after being shut out for its previous three games, the Minutewomen exploded for six goals from six different players Friday.

“It feels great, it has been a rough patch not getting much offensive production,” Tagliente said. “To finally see the reward from all the hard work they’ve put in is good to see.”

Delario, Hannah Farrell, Nicole Miller, Melanie Kreusch, Anne Dijkstra and Maggie Harrison all scored in the victory. The Minutewomen’s six goals marked their largest scoring output since Sept. 13.

UMass had six penalty corner opportunities Friday and converted on three of them. Cliodhna Loughlin redirected a pass off the corner to Farrell, who capitalized on her second goal of the year and the Minutewomen’s second goal of the game.

Later in the first half, UMass continued its aggressive attack when Miller received a pass from the right corner off the stick of Allie Sabia. From there, Miller converted to give UMass a comfortable 3-0 lead going into halftime.

The second half was much of the same as UMass controlled the ball and capitalized on three more scoring chances.

“We’ve had a few people just pushing and pushing and pushing to do a lot of the leg work upfront,” Tagliente said. “We’ve talked about just relaxing, find your teammates, pass and run. I thought they did a good job of sharing the ball, getting into scoring spaces and putting it away.”

Just a little over three minutes into the second half, Melanie Kreusch received a pass from Loughlin off of a corner in which Kreusch sent a shot into the right corner of the net. It was Kreusch’s team-leading sixth goal of the year.

By opening up a 5-0 lead late in the second half, Tagliente was able to play most of her reserves. It was a chance that Harrison, a freshman, took advantage of to record her first goal of her collegiate career. In the 63rd minute, Harrison dove forward to knock in a pass from Sarah Hawkshaw.

“It’s really exciting,” Harrison said. “We worked a lot in practice on scoring plays and I just did what we learned, I actually didn’t think I scored at first but it is really fun.”

For the Minutewomen, Friday’s victory ended a three-game losing streak that included two defeats in A-10 play. UMass next hosts nationally-ranked Boston College on Sunday.

“We came off of two conference losses that we were really upset about,” Harrison said. “We are just taking it one game at a time, we have two conference games remaining so hopefully we can win those.”

Tyler Fiedler can be reached by email [email protected] and on Twitter @Tyler_Fiedler.