Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey falls 5-0 to Michigan in home opener

Michigan scores three at end of first half to bury UMass

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

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Three goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half proved too much for the Massachusetts field hockey team to overcome on Friday night, as the Minutewomen fell 5-0 to No. 5 Michigan at home.

UMass (1-2) held its own until the 26th minute, when Michigan’s Emma Way snuck a shot from the right side of the circle past UMass keeper Johanna von dem Borne. The Wolverines struck twice more by halftime and scored again right after the break before adding an insurance goal late in the game.

“I thought that our young players stepped up really well and hung tough,” coach Barb Weinberg said. “Our biggest goal yesterday was to play defense until we can’t play defense anymore, and our individual defense was much improved.”

The UMass defense was hamstrung by the absence of two key starters, losing Jenna Garber to injury and Sophie de Jonge to a family emergency. In their places, sophomore Bailey McNamara and junior Sara Davis made their first starts for UMass.

Goalkeeper Megan Davies also made her UMass debut, replacing von dem Borne in the 58th minute with the Minutewomen facing a 4-0 deficit. Davies allowed one goal on five shots in 13 minutes of action, while von dem Borne finished with 13 saves and four goals allowed.

“Going into the second half, we knew that if we were in a certain position late in the second half that we wanted to start rolling our bench,” Weinberg said. “We fully trust both of our goalkeepers and we wanted to give Megan the opportunity to play against Michigan.”

On the other side, Michigan stifled the UMass offense. Sophomore Lucy Cooper’s wide left shot in the 37th minute marked the first shot of the game for the Minutewomen, who were held to two shots all game and just one on goal.

“We had trouble building the ball through the midfield,” Weinberg said. “So while we were playing great defensively, when we were coming up with the ball in our outletting piece, we really had some trouble stringing passes together and working the ball forward, which limited our attacking opportunities.”

Junior transfer Antonet Louw, the leading scorer for the Minutewomen, was held in check and did not take a shot. In her first three games at UMass, Louw has scored all four of the Minutewomen’s goals, but Weinberg dismissed the idea that the UMass attack was one-dimensional.

“Lucy Cooper is a goal-scorer, and we’ve got Rachael Burchell, Courtney Ocasal, Chloe Hillier who are getting significant minutes,” Weinberg said. “They’ve had a lot of chances that have just gone wide or the opposing goalkeepers have made good saves. So [Louw] will definitely have a supporting cast up there, for sure.”

Michigan was the first ranked opponent for the new-look Minutewomen, who lost seven starters in the offseason after losing the Atlantic 10 title game in double overtime. Despite Friday’s shutout loss, Weinberg said the Minutewomen’s ceiling remains high and attributed any struggles to the loss of Garber and de Jonge.

“Anytime you lose that experience in the midfield, it’s going to be a bit of a different game,” Weinberg said. “But I thought our young players stepped up well. I think when we’re at full strength, this roster has just as much potential as we did last year.”

UMass will return to action 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Vermont.

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

 

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