UMass field hockey splits Philly trip

Furry scores first UMass goal in win against La Salle


(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

A one-on-one goal right before halftime buried the Massachusetts field hockey team en route to a 5-0 loss against No. 16 Saint Joseph’s, as the Minutewomen split a conference road trip to Philadelphia this weekend.

With 20 seconds to go until the half, midfielder Emily Peters took advantage of a turnover in the backfield of UMass (4-6, 2-1 Atlantic 10) to sneak the ball past goalkeeper Johanna von dem Borne to give Saint Joseph’s (6-2, 1-0 A-10) a commanding 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Minutewomen were unable to generate much on offense, mustering just three shots on goal all game. Standout forwards Antonet Louw and Lucy Cooper were limited to a single shot apiece.

“We knew that they were a team that could tactically counter what we’re putting at them tactically,” coach Barb Weinberg said. “When they were able to work out our press, we didn’t necessarily problem-solve enough on the fly to be able to hang with them for a majority of the game.”

The Minutewomen have struggled against top-tier defenses all season. Sunday’s loss marked the third shutout suffered by UMass this season, with all three coming against ranked opponents.

“Right now, we need to focus on controlling the game in the midfield to be able to get the ball to our strike line,” Weinberg said. “Playing through all the way from our defense line to our strike line is not working for us right now, so we need to focus on possession in our midfield.”

The disappointing showing from the UMass offense came after a dominant 4-1 win over La Salle (4-5, 0-2 A-10) on Friday. Louw scored two goals to increase her team-leading season total to 12, while freshman Katherine Furry scored her first goal for UMass.

“It’s always a tough game playing at La Salle, just because they play on a different surface than we do,” Weinberg said. “I was very pleased how the team prepared for that this week and was able to go into that game and come away with the win. La Salle is a very hard team to play at their home field.”

Furry’s goal opened the scoring for UMass, but La Salle pulled even two minutes later and held strong until halftime. In the second half, Cooper and Louw took over, scoring three more times to put the Explorers away.

Outside of Cooper and Louw, however, the UMass offense was quiet. The two forwards took eight of 14 shots for the Minutewomen, including seven of 10 shots on goal, and scored three of UMass’ four goals.

“I wouldn’t say we try to force it to those two,” Weinberg said. “I think they’re the two that are just able from a speed standpoint and a skills standpoint to generate attack for us at the moment, but Kat Furry had a great game against La Salle and was able to score her first goal. So, I don’t think it’s necessarily an issue of forcing it to those two, but we need to keep developing other players to put points on the board for us as well.”

For the Minutewomen, it was a disappointing loss to the current A-10 leaders and a missed opportunity to build on the momentum from Friday’s win.

“Last year in the regular season against St. Joe’s, we lost 5-2,” Weinberg said. “We continued to grow throughout the season and took them to double overtime in the A-10 championship game. So we’re going to work hard and improve upon the things we’re taking out of this game, and we’re going to give them a better showing next time we face them.”

UMass field hockey continues a stretch of conference games on Friday, when it returns home to Gladchuk Complex for a game against Davidson at 3 p.m.

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