UMass field hockey scores five straight to shock Northeastern

Davies has career night in relief of von dem Borne

By Thomas Haines, Assistant Sports Editor

Five straight goals from Antonet Louw led the Massachusetts field hockey team to a shocking comeback win over Northeastern, as UMass prevailed 5-4 in double overtime Friday night.

After falling behind 4-0 after 40 minutes, UMass (8-9, 5-2 Atlantic 10) stormed back, scoring its first goal four minutes later and tying the game in the 68th minute to force overtime. In the 89th minute, Louw took a setup pass from Sophie de Jonge and fired the ball over the outstretched glove of goalkeeper Julia Gluyes high into the net to secure the win.

“I’ve been waiting all season long for this team to show the grit that I knew was inside of them, and I know that each one of them has,” coach Barb Weinberg said. “Tonight, they never for a second gave up on this game. It was really amazing to see the resiliency and the way they fought back goal by goal to win this game tonight.”

Louw was the star of the night, recording all five goals for the Minutewomen. In the 44th minute, Louw blazed past two defenders and beat Gluyes with a shot inside the left post to get UMass on the board. Three of the other four goals, including the tying and winning goals, came off penalty corners.

“Anytime you can score five goals in any game, it tells a lot about your ability as a striker,” Weinberg said. “She played some world-class hockey tonight, and was able to win us the game.”

The other player who keyed the comeback was redshirt freshman Megan Davies, who replaced freshman Johanna von dem Borne in goal just after Louw’s first score brought the deficit down to three. Davies, who has routinely been getting minutes in blowout games, made a spectacular save just after coming in, and Weinberg chose to stick with the hot hand as UMass came back to tie the game.

Davies continued to dazzle in overtime, recording six saves in the two extra periods.

“We just thought it was time to give Meg Davies an opportunity, and she stepped in huge for us in the second half,” Weinberg said. “So we didn’t pull Johanna because she had necessarily performed bad, but we wanted to give Meg that opportunity when we were [4-1] down, and she ended up making some really key saves for us in that game.”

Northeastern (6-9) came out with a furious attack at the start of overtime, taking three shots in the first minute and three more three minutes later. Davies saved five of those shots, the sixth was blocked, and UMass was able to regain the edge.

The Minutewomen and the Huskies played earlier in the year, a 2-1 win for UMass, but this time Northeastern was able to best the UMass defense for much of the game.

“Northeastern has improved dramatically since the first time we played them,” Weinberg said. “They were more physical, faster, they moved the ball quicker going forward, and really just out-contested us in the first half, to be quite honest. But they’ve made a lot of improvements, especially on their attacking end, since we first played them.”

In the second half, the UMass defense regrouped, allowing just four shots on goal and only two after Davies entered the game.

“I think we just stepped up our physicality and started contesting the one v. one battles more often,” Weinberg said. “There were periods, even in the first half, when we were moving the ball well, but our ability to just stay strong and stay physical in the second half improved from the first half.”

The win came after an ugly 6-1 loss to Boston College in which the Minutewomen were thoroughly outplayed. Coming off the win, UMass has two games left in the regular season, both against opponents that look beatable on paper.

“We talked about momentum coming off of, potentially, three wins in our last three regular season games,” Weinberg said. “I think that… the grit this team showed tonight is going to carry us forward into the A-10 tournament in a couple of weeks.”

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