Upperclassmen trio contribute to UMass’ first A-10 win of the season

van Tonder, Green and Ianni provide a positive spark in multiple ways for the Minutewomen

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Anish Roy / Daily Collegian

By Lulu Kesin, Sports Editor

The beauty of the Massachusetts’s field hockey team is in the fact that there is no single star, but rather a roster of working parts that often run in perfect unison.

In its first Atlantic-10 game of the year, it’s no surprise that a variety of players stepped up to the plate to pull out the 4-0 win over Davidson (2-4, 0-1 A-10.)  on the road Friday night. However, with a narrow look at the three sections of the field, the upperclassmen trio of Marlise van Tonder, Bella Ianni and Amelie Green held down the fort that made for a smooth UMass (5-2, 1-0 A-10) win.

Ianni, a junior forward for the Minutewomen has been a constant so far this season. Her goal scoring abilities are high level and her speed both on and off the ball is a continuous spark for UMass. On Friday, coming off a two-game losing streak, Ianni extended the 1-0 lead with another goal with less than three minutes in the opening quarter.

UMass had an early 1-0 lead over American on Sunday but quickly found themselves tied 1-1, ultimately falling 3-2. Ianni’s goal in the waning minutes of the first quarter on Friday was an extra boost of confidence that the Minutewomen needed heading into quarter two. In the final seconds of the game, Ianni converted a penalty stroke to snag her second of the game and punch the final ticket on the road.

“Bella, just being one of our most experienced strikers on the team,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “Her ability [Friday night] to score two goals, one field goal and one penalty stroke to make the score 4-0 was huge for her.”

Part of what made UMass so successful on Friday came from its ability to disrupt the flow of the game when needed, but not too much to disrupt its own flow. A large piece of that puzzle comes from the midfield line. Graduate student midfielder Amelie Green is the key facilitator for the Minutewomen and seamlessly moves the ball from both ends to create high level play.

With an aggressive Wildcat team on Friday, it was necessary to disrupt the flow and manage the choppiness. Green’s game IQ and ball control steered the ball away from eager Wildcat forwards who were looking to get themselves back into the game. Green has a team high five assists on the year and is the main inserter for corner penalty plays for the Minutewomen. UMass has a high success rate with scoring off of corner plays and the veteran duo of Green inserting to fifth year Georgie McTear has been lethal for the Minutewomen.

“Her work rate is one of the best on the team,” Weinberg said of Green. “That is really what she brings mostly, just nonstop energy and being able to run up and down the field for several minutes at a time.”

Looking at the score alone on Friday shows the talent of Marlise van Tonder. Van Tonder finished the night with five saves, earning her second shutout of the season. The cement block in goal came up in crucial moments for UMass when Davidson came close to creating a turning point in the game on Friday. Van Tonder made a diving save across the goal in the latter half of the third quarter to prevent Davidson from seeing the ball cross the goal line, further narrowing the chances at evening out the game.

In the first league game of the season, van Tonder showed no mercy and gave the UMass defenders every reason to remain calm if the ball got close to the goal at any point.

“With her leadership and experience in our backfield provides so much for us,” Weinberg said. “From a communication standpoint and just her athleticism in goal, she has come up huge in every one of our games this season.”

 Lulu Kesin can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @Lulukesin.