Antonet Louw, Lucy Cooper secure second straight comeback win for UMass field hockey

Minutewomen back at .500 for first time since early September


(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

Goals from Antonet Louw and Lucy Cooper erased a 1-0 deficit with less than 10 minutes to play and the Massachusetts field hockey team pulled out a 2-1 win over UMass Lowell, Thursday afternoon.

Cooper put home a shot from Bailey McNamara in the 67th minute for her sixth goal of the season, and UMass (9-9, 5-2 Atlantic 10) prevented UML (8-9, 2-5 America East) from attempting another shot in the final minutes to close out the win.

Thursday’s win was the second straight comeback victory for the Minutewomen, which came back from a 4-0 deficit to beat Northeastern 5-4 in double overtime on Friday night.

“I think it was just that come from behind momentum,” coach Barb Weinberg said. “They did it against Northeastern, and they had the confidence that they could do that no matter how much time was left. For them to put one on the board and then come back two minutes later and put the second one on the board, I think the motivation was just to avoid going to 7-v.-7 overtime again.”

Louw followed up a five-goal outburst against Northeastern with the equalizing goal against UML in the 65th minute. After Cooper’s insert on a penalty corner got away from the Minutewomen and was corralled by freshman Mus Defauwes outside the circle, Louw took the ball and dribbled inside past several defenders before firing it past goalie Eva Berkhout for her 21st goal of the season.

“It’s what she does best,” Weinberg said. “She turns it on and is able to eliminate several defenders and somehow put the ball in the back of the net. That’s why she’s one of the leading scorers in the country, she has an eye for the goal and is able to finish in times of high pressure.”

After redshirt freshman Megan Davies finished in net on Friday against Northeastern, Weinberg left the starting goalie spot up in the air heading into Thursday’s game. In the end, both Davies and freshman Johanna von dem Borne saw time in net. Von dem Borne got the start and put up a clean first half, while Davies came in at halftime and finished the game.

Both goalies faced four shots apiece, two on goal. Von dem Borne recorded two saves, while Davies recorded one and allowed the River Hawks’ lone goal.

Heading into the final regular season game on Sunday, Weinberg again left the starting spot open.

“They both played great,” Weinberg said. “Neither one of them had a ton of action today, but they made the saves that they needed to. UMass Lowell scored a great goal for their goal during that game. But I thought both of them stepped in and did a great job. It’s not easy as a goalkeeper to come in cold off the bench into the second half, and I thought Meg stepped in great.”

It was a solid defensive game on both sides, as the Minutewomen and the River Hawks each put up eight shots and three saves. Six of the shots for UMass came in the second half, including four of five total shots on goal.

Despite the slow start, the Minutewomen came through when it mattered to secure the win.

Thursday’s win was a significant moment for the Minutewomen. In addition to reaching a .500 record for the first time since early September, the Minutewomen also secured their first back-to-back victories of the year. UMass also won the Kennedy Cup, the trophy given to the winner of the UMass vs. UMass Lowell rivalry, for the sixth straight year.

“We’ve been chasing that .500 record all season long,” Weinberg said. “That was actually in our pregame presentation and it was a motivator for our team. They wanted to be at .500 after today, and wanted to bring the Kennedy Cup back to UMass again. So they were able to achieve both of those goals today.”

Coming off two dramatic wins, UMass appears to be peaking at just the right time. The Minutewomen return home for their final regular season game on Sunday and have a chance to enter next weekend’s A-10 tournament on a three-game win streak.

“I think we’re in a position right now where the team really believes that if they’re down a couple of goals that they’re able to come back and win, no matter how much time is left on the clock,” Weinberg said.

Sunday’s game against Saint Louis is slated to start at 1 p.m.

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