Steph Gottwals scores in overtime to take down Davidson, 2-1

UMass takes the day despite Davidson’s stingy defense

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Dylan Nguyen / Daily Collegian

By Michael Araujo , Collegian Staff

The autumn breeze was cool, but Steph Gottwals was cooler.

In overtime, Gottwals netted home the game-winning shot as the Massachusetts field hockey team got a gritty 2-1 win against Davidson on Friday.

The two teams duked it out in a defensive duel for four quarters before heading into sudden death.

“We’re really confident in our overtime lineup,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “We’ve obviously had a few overtimes this season. We talked in the fourth quarter about Davidson’s energy and work rate and really just [its’] confidence was exceeding ours so we needed to bring that up going into the overtime period.”

After just a minute of overtime play, Mali Herberhold sent a shot that was deflected by the keeper and shot high into the air. In perfect position, Gottwals leaped up in the air and tipped the ball into the net.

“Although the goalkeeper made the first save I thought [Gottwals] did a phenomenal job of tapping it in,” Weinberg said.

It was a miraculous walk-off win for UMass (7-2, 2-0 Atlantic 10), but regulation was strenuous, and the energy was highly competitive.

Right from tipoff, Davidson (3-5, 0-2 Atlantic 10) made every effort to not let the Minutewomen get an inch of space. The Wildcats aggressively flooded the zone when the ball came into their territory and intercepted passes that UMass routinely makes. Anything UMass achieved, the Wildcats made the Minutewomen earn.

“On individual defense, every time we engaged with a defender they won the ball off of us,” Weinberg said. “We need to be more secure in our possession but kudos to them they played great defense.”

Davidson’s physical style of play threw off the Minutewomen. With seven minutes remaining in regulation and UMass leading by one, the Wildcats were awarded a penalty shot that Sarah Minges capitalized on after goalkeeper Myrte van Herwijnen dove out of net to stop another shot. Initially, the play looked like it had been thwarted by the Minutewomen, but Minges and the Wildcats played on and their good hustle was rewarded.

“We have to play to the whistle,” Weinberg said. “We thought there was a foul there that hit someone’s foot and I think for a moment we stopped playing.”

The hiccup did not affect the rest of regulation, as the Minutewomen clamped up on the defensive end to extend the game and go on to win it in extra minutes. So far this season, UMass has played in four overtime games, including one shootout. It has emerged victorious in all four games.

The first goal of the game came at the hands of Emily Crawford, who tipped in a pass from Herberhold. Registering her seventh assist of the year, Herberhold leads the A-10 conference in assists.

“Anytime [Herberhold] has a second of space in the circle she’s able to move the ball,” Weinberg said.

At the halfway point in the Minutewomen’s regular season, coach Weinberg knows that there are still improvements to be made.

“We have to work on our defensive side of things and outcomes in our attacking third,” Weinberg said.

UMass’ weekend slate continues on Sunday when they host Columbia at 3 p.m. at the Gladchuk Complex.

Michael Araujo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @araujo_michael_.