Minutewomen leave it late, notch 3-2 win over Northeastern.

By Amin Touri

Nicole Miller takes the ball during Sunday's game against Northeastern. Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)
Nicole Miller takes the ball during Sunday’s game against Northeastern. (Katherine Mayo/Daily Collegian)

The Massachusetts field hockey team left it late against Northeastern on Sunday afternoon, needing a game-winner in the closing minutes to seal a 3-2 Senior Day victory heading into a big week of A-10 matchups.

UMass forward Celina Hocks’ deflection with just 2:27 to play proved to be the difference, as Hocks redirected a shot from a penalty corner past Huskie goaltender Becky Garner to hand her team a well-deserved win.

“We played really great,” senior forward Izzie Delario said, “It’s probably one of the better performances we’ve had this season. We were all on the same page together, and it really showed.”

Northeastern (7-8, 1-3 CAA) came back from an early 2-0 deficit to tie things up late in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a Minutewomen (9-6, 4-1 A-10) side that dominated the majority of the contest.

“I thought our defense was the best I’ve seen them in the last seven games or so,” Minutewomen head coach Amy Robertson said. “We did some little things really well, and I’m just really proud of the team, it was a real team effort. The win is great, but the performance is even better, and that’s really important momentum to take into these upcoming games and the end of our season.”

UMass celebrated its Senior Day, holding a pre-game ceremony to honor the seven seniors whose time in a Minutewomen jersey will come to an end in the coming weeks.

“Our senior class has just been incredible,” goaltender Emily Hazard said of her fellow seniors, “Throughout these last four years they’ve just been leaders on the team, really instilled a love for the game on this team and an amazing work ethic.”

Delario would strike first for UMass, carrying the ball into the circle herself and sneaking a shot past Garner to open the scoring twenty minutes in and notch her ninth goal of the season.

Minutewomen forward Grace Horgan doubled the advantage just five minutes later, capitalizing on a goalmouth scramble to put UMass up 2-0 with 9:31 left in the first half.

Northeastern would strike back before the break, after a rebound off the post fell to Huskie forward Jamie Bartucca, who buried it to make it 2-1 heading into halftime.

After a relatively even stretch of play through the second half, Bartucca would strike again with just 6:28 to play, sliding a shot through Hazard’s pads to tie the game at two.

As overtime loomed, it was Hocks who stepped up to send everyone home early. Senior Hannah Farrell fired a shot from the top of the circle from a penalty corner, and a deflection from Hocks on the way through was enough to direct it home and put the Minutewomen ahead for good with 2:27 on the clock.

The win gives UMass plenty of momentum heading into their next three games, a crucial slate of Atlantic 10 conference games that will determine their seeding in the A-10 tournament in early November.

“[A-10 games] are the biggest games,” Robertson said.  “The next game is always the most important game, but when it’s an A-10 game, to get into the A-10 tournament and secure a bid, that’s really important. Now we get to rest today and tomorrow, then we’re back at it to prepare for Saint Joseph’s, which is definitely the biggest game of the season.”

UMass coach Amy Robertson had nothing but high praise for her seniors following an impressive Senior Day performance.

“This senior class is phenomenal,” Robertson said. “I think any coach would consider themselves supremely fortunate to coach them. They’ve been leaders since they were freshmen, so now they’re leading by example and playing a role that’s critically to the team functioning positively, being successful.

“They’re such a fun group, such an assortment of personalities, the most unique people. They really care about this team, they’re passionate about UMass, they’re great representatives for our program, and I couldn’t be happier to get a chance to work with them this season, and get to know such a fine group of young women,” she added.

The Minutewomen head to Philadelphia this weekend for a pair of games against Saint Joseph’s and La Salle on Oct. 21 and Oct. 23, before returning home to host Lock Haven in their final regular season game on Oct. 28.

“Every game is really important to us, but we’ll take it one at a time,” said Hazard. “This week we’ll just focus on St. Joes, and then we’ll focus on La Salle, then we’ve got a whole week until Lock Haven, so it’ll be one at a time.”

Amin Touri can be reached at [email protected]