Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey loses 3-2 to UNH in season opener

Junior transfer Antonet Louw scores both goals in UMass debut

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

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The Massachusetts field hockey team fell 3-2 to New Hampshire in the season opener Friday evening despite a two-goal effort from junior Antonet Louw.

UMass (0-1) led 2-1 with just over 20 minutes to go, but UNH scored two unanswered goals down the stretch. Wildcat freshman Finn Caron redirected a shot from forward Bloem van den Brekel in the 63rd minute to complete the comeback and give UNH the lead for good.

“It was a couple different things,” UMass coach Barb Weinberg said. “We had a couple of cards, so at times we were down a player, and they were able to get a couple shots off, and I believe one goal, when we were down a player. And once we tried to press them harder, then it left us a little more exposed in the backfield. But the last ten minutes of the game, we really had to go for it. We were down 3-2 and we really had to try to tie the score up.”

Playing in her first game for the Minutewomen, Louw scored twice in just over a minute midway through the second half, accounting for all UMass’ scoring.

“She’s a world-class goal scorer and she just has an eye for the goal,” Weinberg said. “I think we’ll see her be a threat up top.”

The UMass defense started strong, allowing just three shots in the first half. In the second half, the UNH attack gained the advantage as the Minutewomen struggled, scoring two goals on seven shots. Freshman goalie Johanna von dem Borne finished the day with three goals allowed and three saves.

“I think Johanna knows that she can play better,” Weinberg said. “I don’t think she was necessarily happy with her performance. But individual defense all around is a huge focus for us heading into Sunday’s game. It just needs to be better all over the field.”

On the other side, the UMass offense sputtered early, managing just two shots in the first twenty minutes. The offense picked up near the end of the first half, but outside of Louw, the Minutewomen took just seven shots all game.

Louw and von dem Borne were among six Minutewomen playing in their first game for UMass, including four starters. Of the 11 starters in last year’s opener, only four — Lucy Cooper, Georgie McTear, Sophie de Jonge, and Jamie Melley — are still with the team.

 

Despite the roster turnover, Weinberg attributed the slow start and defensive struggles to UNH’s style rather than inexperience.

“Once we settled in, later in the first half, we were playing some beautiful hockey,” Weinberg said. “So, it was maybe a factor of inexperience at first, but all preseason long and especially last week, we played some really good hockey and were moving the ball well.”

Following the loss, Weinberg said that the team was focused more on performance than record.

“This first game is an important game in terms of seeing how you fare against other opponents,” Weinberg said. “I don’t think the loss is necessarily that important, or the win is necessarily that important, coming out of this UNH game. It’s a non-conference opponent, and I think the most important thing we can take out of this game is how we can improve moving forward.”

Since Northeastern lost the early game of the Wildcat Classic on the UNH campus, UMass will face the Huskies on Sunday in New Hampshire. The game is scheduled to start at 11 a.m.

Thomas Haines can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @thainessports.

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