All around dominance lifted UMass over La Salle 7-1 on Friday

Minutewomen veterans stepped up on their senior day

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Anish G. Roy

Anish Roy/Daily Collegian

By Colin McCarthy, Assistant Sports Editor

A win on Friday would go a long way for the Massachusetts field hockey team’s odds to make the Atlantic 10 tournament. But the No. 20 Minutewomen (11-5, 4-2 A-10) weren’t satisfied with just a win as they dominated La Salle 7-1 on senior day.

UMass lit up the scoresheet early and often against the Explorers (6-9, 3-3 A-10), setting the tone with a goal less than two minutes into the contest. Georgie McTear drove down the right side and into the circle, passing the ball off to Katherine Furry, who quickly found Mus Defauwes on the far post for an easy tap-in goal. Defauwes added another goal in the second quarter in a near identical way.

“Going into this there was a lot of pressure on the game, La Salle had a lot to play for for an A-10 tournament berth,” head coach Barb Weinberg said after the game. “But our team was just so fired up, it was senior day, they wanted to play for our seniors and graduate students, and they just came out on fire.”

That opening play kickstarted an avalanche of offense for the Minutewomen, who rattled off three more goals before the end of the half. McTear had a hand in each of them, firing shots on net on penalty corners and getting balls to her teammates in front who capitalized on almost every opportunity generated.

UMass didn’t take its foot off the gas, either. It generated three more goals in the third quarter and even when using its substitutes, it continued to pressure La Salle constantly. McTear in particular would not stop playing until the final horn sounded. Not satisfied with her four assists, with less than 30 seconds in regulation and up six goals, the graduate student continued to push the pace downfield and fired a long-range pass into the Explorers’ circle to try and add another assist with under 10 seconds to play.

“We didn’t stop in this game and that’s probably what I’m most pleased with,” Weinberg said. “It was a four-quarter game.”

As impressive as its offense was through 60 minutes, the Minutewomen got another impressive showing from their defense on Friday as well. UMass didn’t allow a single shot on goal until there were only four minutes remaining in the final frame, when both teams had backups in.

Standout goaltender Marlise van Tonder was not required to make a single save in her three quarters in net, and Brooke Richards made three saves on penalty corners in the fourth. Richards ultimately gave up the lone La Salle goal, but her performance was still a highlight for her coaches and teammates.

“Brooke [Richards] is someone that’s always ready to go no matter what moment in the game it is,” Weinberg said. “So, I’m glad that we were able to get her on the field today, and she got a few touches on the ball. She played great.”

Emily Devine made a few key plays for the Minutewomen in their defensive end as well. On one of the Explorers’ penalty corners in the second quarter, the ball trickled past van Tonder towards the goal line, but Devine’s intervention prevented the goal. Later in the game La Salle went on a breakaway, but Devine played perfect defense and earned a takeaway before allowing a scoring opportunity.

UMass’ penalty corner offense took a step back over the last few games but was rejuvenated on Friday, with multiple goals coming by way of its set plays within the offensive circle.

“That’s been our main focus in the last week and a half, and our execution today was spot on,” Weinberg said.

The Minutewomen celebrated their seniors after the game with flowers and a heartfelt speech, but those seniors celebrated their final game at Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex in their own way during the game. Each senior – Defauwes, Sophie Johnson and Katherine Furry – appeared on the scoresheet. Furry has played inconsistent minutes this season but makes the most of her time on the field. In UMass’ shootout win over Boston College she scored twice during the shootout, and on her senior day Furry had her hand in the first goal of the game and scored a goal of her own for UMass’ final goal.

“It’s an amazing feeling,” Defauwes said of her and the seniors’ performances. “I’m very happy that Katherine [Furry] scored, a bunch of people scored, it’s amazing to do it on your last time on your own pitch.”

The Minutewomen will finish off their regular season with two road games beginning with a matchup against UConn on Sunday at noon.

Colin McCarthy can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @colinmccarth_DC.