Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass field hockey faces a vengeful Northeastern team

UMass looks to bounce back after tough loss on Sunday
Caroline O’Connor/Collegian

Instead of a typical weekend game schedule, the Massachusetts field hockey team will play one Friday game against Northeastern, heading to Dedham, Mass. to play the Huskies at 6 p.m.

Friday’s contest will be a rematch from the Wildcat Classic, hosted by the University of New Hampshire earlier this season, that saw the Minutewomen (7-9, 5-2 Atlantic 10) defeat Northeastern (6-8, 2-1 Colonial Athletic Association) 2-1 for the first win of the season.

“Northeastern is going to be looking for some revenge because we beat them earlier in this season, so they will want to capitalize on this chance,” said head coach Barb Weinberg.

The season has come a long way since the second game for both schools. The Minutewomen have seen success from many talented players, but have not been able to hold onto momentum in a hard schedule filled with games against top-ranked teams.

Northeastern is currently on a four-game winning streak, coming off a decisive 5-1 win against Dartmouth, which beat UMass 4-3 earlier in September.

As UMass prepares for the Huskies, its last game will also be in its mind. A 6-1 loss against the No. 12 ranked team in the nation left it with much room to improve, especially on defense.

“We’re just trying to make improvements from our Sunday game against BC, and trying to play better defense against Northeastern than we did last Sunday,” said Weinberg, “[We need to] definitely lower the number of penalty corners that we’re giving up.”

UMass has found success engaging in aggressive defensive play at times this season but in recent games, the Minutewomen have let up more penalty corners than they have earned, giving their opponents an edge in terms of offensive opportunities.

The key to Friday’s game could be to play disciplined defense, locking Northeastern down. The Huskies have lost seven games, scoring one or fewer goals in six of those losses. They are 2-5 in one-point games.

On the offensive end, Lucy Cooper has scored three goals in the last two games for UMass.

Northeastern will also bring a strong attack. Forwards Camille O’Conor and Rachel Campbell have combined for six goals during its four-game winning streak.

It will be an exciting game for both teams, who will most-likely not ease up just because it is a non-conference match. As the season comes closer to the end, two things are on teams’ minds: winning and the Atlantic 10 Championship tournament sitting in the near future.

“We want to win every game from here on out, but we’re also trying some new things to prepare ourselves for the A-10 championships,” said Weinberg.

Something UMass will integrate into its game on Friday is rolling its bench as much as possible, as it has been doing recently. It is a way for the Minutewomen to get as many players as possible to reach a high minute count.

With talented new additions, UMass has the luxury to rotate several players through each position. Gaining experience for many players depends a lot on their minutes off the bench, especially in these non-conference games.

The Minutewomen will have six days off after Northeastern, continuing out-of-conference play next Thursday.

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

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