Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey gets in early hole against UConn, falls 8-3

Von dem Borne settles down in second half making career high in saves

Collegian File Photo

Collegian File Photo

By Justin Ekstrom, Collegian Staff

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The Massachusetts field hockey team lost its footing early when a scramble in front of its own net in the first minute resulted in a Connecticut goal. The Minutewomen surrendered another goal in the fifth minute, and 52 seconds after that, the Huskies scored again. Before seven minutes passed, UMass (2-3) found themselves in a 4-0 deficit en route to an 8-3 loss.

The Minutewomen struggled to keep the ball on offense, and tried to force long passes up the field. These sequences quickly led to turnovers, and were followed by aggressive drives by the No. 1 Huskies, who controlled the ball for much of the first 20 minutes.

“UConn’s press is pretty brutal and they were putting a lot of pressure on our backfield,” said head coach Barb Weinberg. “We were having trouble working the ball out … but found our way out in the second half by changing our structure a little bit and our personnel.”

The game proved to be a fairly, if not strongly, competitive one considering that once the Minutewomen got on the board, they kept pace with Connecticut the rest of the way.

However, the game was won and lost during the offensive tear that the Huskies brought to UMass. Three Connecticut players had multiple goals, including junior Antonia Tiedtke, who also added two assists.

UMass got on the board with a hard-hit goal off a penalty corner from sophomore Georgie McTear. From McTear’s goal on, the possession evened out. The last two of the Minutewomen’s three goals came from freshman Chloe Hillier, who scored her first two collegiate goals.

“I would definitely call it a breakout game for Hillier,” Weinberg said.

Hillier came off the bench but put up quality minutes. Her second goal came off a breakaway pass from sophomore Lucy Cooper that was a little too far ahead. Hillier went to the ground on a slide, reaching her stick out and poking the ball into the net, bringing the crowd to its feet.

“It was very nerve racking,” Hillier explained. “A lot of hard work came from preseason, and then just to finally finish one on net felt really good and got my adrenaline pumping even more.”

Freshman keeper Johanna von dem Borne took a high volume of shots throughout the game, but stuck in net until the end. She saw 22 shots on goal and saved 13, a new career high. Von dem Borne has been the starter for the Minutewomen so far this season and is gaining experience with each game.

Captain Jamie Melley was also instrumental in keeping defensive fortitude directly after UConn’s initial five-goal streak in the first 20 minutes. Melley was noticeably vocal in her leadership approach on the field, and held together a strong defense throughout the first half and to end the second half, after she re-entered the match.

“In the second half, our team defense and individual defense was fantastic,” Weinberg remarked after the game.

The Minutewomen will play at home again this Sunday against Dartmouth at 3 p.m.

Justin Ekstrom can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @JustinJEkstrom.

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