Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey begins critical play down the stretch

Minutewomen to face two Bay State opponents

%28Caroline+O%27Connor%2FDaily+Collegian%29
(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

(Caroline O'Connor/Daily Collegian)

By Tyler Movsessian, Collegian Staff

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After splitting last weekend in Virginia against VCU and Richmond, the Massachusetts field hockey team will spend this weekend in state, with a home match against Saint Francis and a road game with Boston College.

Saint Francis (8-7, 4-2 Atlantic 10) comes to UMass this year after hosting the matchup last year, where the Minutewomen were shutout 1-0.

On Sunday, UMass heads to Boston College. The Eagles (8-4, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) are currently ranked No. 12 in the country and are undefeated at home (4-0).

This will be the fifth ranked opponent UMass has faced on a particularly difficult non-conference schedule. Despite the difficulty in the schedule, coach Barb Weinberg has derived some positivity out of the situation in that it will prepare them for tough games they will face down the line, particularly in the A-10 championship.

“I think we played an even contest against VCU on Sunday,” said Weinberg. “I think despite some tough losses, we can still hang with top opponents, and I believe that this team will play tough against BC. These are all great tests of resilience that we will need to showcase in a few weeks for the A-10 tournaments.”

Last week a focus for the Minutewomen was to win the ball higher up the field so that they could generate more scoring chances in transition. While they were able to do that this weekend against Richmond and VCU, Weinberg has said they struggled on keeping the ball in their attacking third, which is something the team has emphasized in practice this week.

“We’d like to create more numbers on attack to generate more chances, which we failed to do against VCU on Sunday,” said Weinberg. “We had too many turnovers in the midfield and attacking third in our last match, so we need to work on keeping possession longer.”

The action begins at Gladchuk Sport Complex at 3 p.m. against Saint Francis, then the team travels across the state to Boston College for a 2 p.m. start in Chestnut Hill.

After this weekend there are only three games left in the regular season schedule, with a bit more rest between each. Their only opponent will be Northeastern next week on Oct. 19.

Tyler Movsessian can be reached at [email protected] followed on Twitter @t_movsessian.

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