UMass field hockey scores thrilling last minute goal to defeat Maine

Back and forth play down the stretch came out in UMass’ favor

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Thom Kendall/UMass Athletics

By Will Kharfen, Collegian Staff

Massachusetts women’s field hockey, after an extremely competitive game against a strong Maine team, was able to score a last-minute goal to win a thrilling non-conference matchup.

UMass (3-1) defeated the Black Bears (0-2) 2-1, following a back-and-forth contest between the two very strong sides, as the Minutewomen ultimately were able to come out on top.

In the first half, the game was very tight between the two teams, as neither side was able to gain an upper hand on the other. UMass and Maine played a more conservative, defensive game.

“When we scouted them, we felt that pocket play was on, short combination of pace and really building the ball through our midfield, which is how we like to play anyways, so we were excited about that,” said Minutewomen head coach Barb Weinberg. “Maine did a really good job of putting individual pressure on us, and we were just having trouble keeping position, so there were a lot of turnovers in the first half.”

The game heated up heading into the third quarter, as the Black Bears came out aggressively and were able to score the first goal of the contest after midfielder Tereza Holubcova was able to dribble into the circle and score in the 32nd minute.

“Our team has been really great all season, so our only reaction to a goal is a positive mindset,” said Weinberg.

Not long after, the Minutewomen were able to tie it up in the 36th when midfielder Jess Beech scored off an open penalty shot against Maine goalie Mia Borley, after a hard play against forward Steph Gottwals.

“To know we were going to be the next team to get a goal back, we do a really good job of moving onto the next thing, knowing we have the ability to put one on the board quickly,” said Weinberg.

In the fourth quarter, the teams traded penalty corner opportunities late into the game. Following a terrific three-save sequence from UMass freshman goalie Brooke Richards, the Minutewomen were finally able to capitalize on a thrilling late game penalty corner that resulted in a 59th minute goal from defender Josie Rossbach to seal the victory for the team.

“To be able to deny is huge and it gives us momentum and to be able to capitalize,” said Weinberg. “Josie [Rossbach] has been practicing those deflections all season, so it was exciting for her to be able to put one in.”

Richards was able to put on a terrific performance and step up for the Minutewomen, tallying five saves in the defensive contest.

“It’s never easy for any first year freshman goalkeeper to step in at this level and she’s done that from day one and we’re fully confident in Brooke,” said Weinberg of Richards.

UMass plays at home again this Sunday against rival UMass Lowell at noon, in hopes of retaining the Kennedy Cup.

Will Kharfen can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @WHK_14.