Mali Herberhold’s overtime goal puts UMass over Maine in season opener

Minutewomen pick up 4-3 win on Saturday afternoon

Dylan+Nguyen%2F+Daily+Collegian

Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian

By Lulu Kesin, Sports Editor

The Massachusetts field hockey team wanted to win in regulation. “We knew it was going to be a close game, part of our game plan was to take the win in regulation,” fifth year head coach Barb Weinberg said.

But UMass (1-0) will take the overtime thriller over Maine (0-1); happily.

After four quarters and a valiant effort by strong veterans on each side, it was freshman Mali Herberhold’s highlight reel goal that gave the Minutewomen an opening day win at home.

“Mali is a brilliant midfielder and striker … she is someone who is at the field every day working on her shot and it takes 2,000 reps to be able to finish like that, so she put in the work to be able to capitalize today,” Weinberg said.

Herberhold is from Germany, where Weinberg says she plays at the highest level, bringing skill and versatility to the UMass roster. The Freshman joins a star-studded group of midfielders in Claire Danahy, Jess Beech, Hannah de Gast, and Emilie Keij.

“Very excited,” the rookie said of her game winner. “I am very proud of my team, we did very well.”

Herberhold’s goal was made possible by Beech, who intercepted an uncontested opportunity by Maine. She fed Steph Gottwals, who eventually picked up the assist of Herberhold’s shot. The freshman worked in tandem with the fourth year players, who were known to capitalize in extra minutes during the 2021 season.

Beech, a recent member of the Atlantic 10 Preseason All-Conference Team had her clutch moment on Saturday as well. After Bella Ianni slammed face first into the ground following a collision with Maine’s goalkeeper, Beech tied things up 3-3 with just under four to play in the third quarter.

UMass cleaned up its act in the latter half, pulling out the win but despite drawing first blood with an early goal, the Minutewomen lacked in areas at the beginning of the game.

“The flow was a bit slow to start in the first two quarters,” Weinberg said. “Obviously a bit of nervous energy going out for the first game, Maine put much more pressure on us than we faced all pre-season … we just couldn’t get in the flow of the game and a lot of our strength is being able to move the ball in and out of pockets.”

Emily Crawford, a steady senior forward alongside Ianni, connected early off a corner play for the first goal of the season, but as the game kicked into motion, Black Bears’ superstar Poppy Lambert returned to Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex as a force to get passed. The defender picked up a goal of her own on Saturday but maximized problems for the Minutewomen forwards to work through.

Halfway through quarter two, UMass forward Dempsey Campbell made things 2-1 but the celebratory screams were interrupted by Maine’s goalie down with an injury. The injury timeout was lengthy, but the Minutewomen lead was not. The following play, the Black Bears ripped through a shaky UMass defense to tie things up at 2-2.

The Minutewomen had a corner opportunity to regain the lead with two minutes to play in the first half but couldn’t convert, heading into halftime with a sour taste.

Ultimately, UMass had an 18-7 shot ratio over Maine, but the Black Bears won the battle in the net, with their goalies saving seven shots to the Minutewomen’s three.

Marlise van Tonder was a force in goal for UMass but upon graduation, it forced a new netminder in Amherst. Freshman Myrte Van Herwijnen snagged the starting spot for the Minutewomen, making three saves and allowing three goals. Van Herwijnen joins the goalie roster alongside junior Brooke Richards, and fellow freshman Alli Wood.

In addition to the loss of van Tonder, the Minutewomen are without sparkplug Georgie McTear, who was the main source of ball control for UMass.

The Minutewomen have a quick turnaround and no easy task ahead of them. Game No. 2 of the year is against the reigning national champions, Northwestern on Monday.  Game time in Amherst is set for 1 p.m.

Lulu Kesin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on twitter @lulukesin.