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 plays true to its identity in 7-1 win over La Salle

The Minutewomen perfect their own game against the Explorers
Anish Roy/ Daily Collegian

Score early, maintain the lead. That’s what head coach Barb Weinberg has asked of her team all season long. On Friday, the Massachusetts field hockey team took under two minutes to punch in its first goal of the day. Six more goals followed for No. 20 UMass (11-5, 4-2 Atlantic 10) on the day and only one for La Salle.

The 7-1 smashing victory against an Atlantic 10 opponent was crucial for the Minutewomen however the ability to do so in true UMass fashion foreshadows a dominant end to the 2021-22 season.

“Something we have talked about every game is strong start first five minutes,” Weinberg said. “We have struggled with it this season so to come out like that it just gives us so much more momentum going into the rest of the game when you can put a goal in the board that early.”

To start off the 2021-22 campaign, UMass embodied the score early mentality. The Minutewomen were able to capitalize on early goal scoring in games for most of September. There was an issue of maintaining the lead, like when Maine was able to score twice late in the game to push it to overtime. But on Friday, UMass had no trouble on either end.

“We really wanted to come out strong and not be on the backfoot,” senior midfielder and forward Mus Defauwes said. “We immediately wanted to put our name on the game and when you score in the 13th minute, its exactly that.”

A critical aspect to the glamorous win on Friday for the Minutewomen came from the players that were able to knock in the goals. Defauwes was the only overlap in goal scorers on Friday, the other five goals came from different UMass players. Another key aspect to Weinberg’s assessment of her team this season has been the ability to share the wealth and has never doubted any players ability to score when needed.

Six different Minutewomen found success against the Explorers (6-9, 3-3 A-10) and each came from disciplined, high level offensive opportunities. Junior Bella Ianni had a red hot shot at La Salle’s net but was stopped at the foot of the goalkeeper. Just moments later, Ianni got revenge with a textbook corner penalty conversion minutes into the second quarter, giving UMass its fourth goal early.

“It speaks to our team effort,” Weinberg said. “All season long we haven’t had one prominent goal scorer, so we continue to have contributors.”

Senior Katherine Furry joined the celebration on the left side of the goal after punching in her first goal of the season on a pass from Hannah de Gast. By goal number one, it was clear UMass had control of the game. By goal five, it was clear the Minutewomen weren’t stepping off the gas anytime soon. As the clock winded with goal seven in the books, UMass proved it could keep a lead for four entire quarters.

In the latter half of the season, a critique from Weinberg has been the Minutewomen’s safe play. Instead of productively moving the ball forward and attacking defenders head on, UMass depended on backwards ball movement.

It was a night and day difference against La Salle, however. Every crisp pass was met at the stick of a Minutewomen, and UMass had no trouble seamlessly connecting up the field, with constant pressure on its opponent’s defense.

“I think we kept that momentum going the whole game,” Weinberg said. “Our pocket play was really working for us. Our midfield was able to turn and go forward.”

There was never a moment where the Minutewomen depended too heavily on backwards passing and seven goals was representative of that. UMass had 22 shots on the day and drew 11 corner penalties. The Minutewomen hit on three key aspects of their game in the win on Friday by spreading the wealth productively and never letting up after the first punch.

“We didn’t drop off after the first goal, we kept going,” Defauwes said.

Lulu Kesin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Lulukesin.



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