Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey battles for NCAA play-in game victory vs. Monmouth

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Katherine Mayo/Collegian

Katherine Mayo/Collegian

With three and a half minutes left in regulation, the Massachusetts field hockey team took a 4-3 lead in what would turn out to be the game winning goal over Monmouth in the NCAA tournament play-in game Wednesday.

Senior forward Izzie Delario found the back of the net for what would be her 12th and most important goal of the season.

“I had been getting a couple opportunities on the left side,” Delario said. “There was a girl on the left line and I just took the ball off the in-line before the girl could get a touch on the ball and I ripped it and scored. It was awesome.”

After time expired, the Hawks (17-3, 6-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) were awarded a penalty corner that was turned away by the Minutewomen (14-7, 6-2 Atlantic 10 Conference) defense, but they were awarded another corner after the ball went out of bounds.

The second corner was blocked by the UMass defense, but this time it stayed in bounds and the Minutewomen rushed the field in celebration.

“It was a heck of a game,” Minutewomen coach Amy Robertson said. “Monmouth fought us tooth and nail. It was a fast field and they executed their corners really well. I’m proud of the team for persevering and trusting themselves.”

“We weren’t able to get corners, but when we got shots more often than not we scored. Our forwards were in the zone today.”

The go-ahead goal by Delario gave her 100 points in her career at UMass.

The record puts her in an elite group of former Minutewomen with triple-digit points. The other five are Kathy DeAngelis (105 points, 1985-1988), Erica Johnston (107, 1995-1998), Anke Bruemmer (108, 1998-2001), Jenn Salisbury (132, 1990-1993) and Judy Strong (202, 1978-1981).

“It’s definitely pretty cool,” Delario said. “I’ve never been the person to be concerned with individual success… I wouldn’t have gotten here without teammates the last four years and it’s more about what 100 points helped us to achieve.”

In Wednesday’s matchup with Monmouth, UMass got started early when junior midfielder Sarah Hawkshaw scored her 15th goal of the season in the 12th minute on a reverse shot that was just out of the reach of Hawks goalie Christen Piersanti.

Not two minutes later, the Hawks knotted the score at one on junior defender Julie Laszlo’s 15th goal of the season sending fans in attendance into a frenzy. Laszlo gave Monmouth a 2-1 lead in the 35th minute of the half and that’s how it would stay until halftime.

“We got down, but they were unfazed,” Robertson said. “They played not to lose, that comes from experience and maturity, like a ‘we’ve been through it, we can handle it’.”

UMass got the first shot of the second half and they made the most of it. Delario fed the ball across the goal-mouth to senior forward Nicole Miller who knotted the score up at two apiece on her ninth goal of the season.

In the 49th minute, Delario gave the Minutewomen a 3-2 lead, but the lead didn’t stand past the 53th minute when Monmouth senior defender Casey Hanna knotted the score at three apiece.

After Delario scored in the 67th minute to give the Minutewomen the lead late, the Hawks pulled Piersanti in an effort to increase their chances to tie the game by adding an extra forward.

With the victory Wednesday, the Minutewomen move on to play No. 2 nationally ranked Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday.

“This is the dance. When you get to this point, nothing is scaring you and you’re determined to make it and believe that you can win,” Robertson said. “We have respect for Maryland and we have played each other recently and are ready to get prepared and enjoy this experience. The team isn’t happy just playing this game to play it, there is more to it.”

Zander Manning can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @ZMSportsReport.

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