UMass closes out UMass Lowell in shootouts, winning the Kennedy Cup 3-2

Dempsey Campbell scores game winner for the Minutewomen

Dylan+Nguyen%2F+Daily+Collegian

Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian

By Lulu Kesin, Sports Editor

After two overtime periods, it was the crafty stick skills of sophomore Dempsey Campbell that put the Massachusetts field hockey team over in state foe UMass Lowell in shootouts, 3-2.

When the buzzer sounded following the second overtime, players hit the turf in fatigue. With two concrete walls in goal for both the Minutewomen and River Hawks, shootouts came down to what the players could do to find the back of the net. Assistant coach for UMass (2-1) Pietie Coetzee-Turner guided Campbell, and she executed when it mattered most.

“I practiced it a lot the day before, thinking we had the chance to go into shootouts,” Campbell said. “Coach P told me exactly what to do and I just did it.”

The thriller marks Campbell’s second goal of the year in just three games.

In shootouts, Claire Danahy got things going for the Minutewomen first, shuffling around Lowell’s (1-2) Eleonore Boekhorst but until Campbell, UMass failed to follow suit. Hannah de Gast’s first attempt resulted in a second attempt when Boekhorst collided with de Gast on her shot attempt. Boekhorst didn’t allow any second chances.

Campbell cleaned things up, sending the Minutewomen into immediate celebration, three extra periods later than they expected.

“This is one of the grittiest teams we have ever had at UMass and I think that gives us an edge in moments like this,” head coach Barb Weinberg said of her message to her team down the stretch. “There comes a point where our team, our captains are saying ‘we are not going to lose this game’ and that is felt out there.”

Weinberg felt that her team came out in both overtime periods with confidence and controlled most of the possession, it was just a matter of getting past Boekhorst, who made it extremely difficult. On the day, Boekhorst had seven saves, many of which prevented a UMass victory late in the game. Daily repetition of shootouts in practice gave Weinberg’s squad the confidence to bring things home.

Given the additional minutes, the first quarter seemed like an entirely different game by the end of Friday’s bloodbath, but the level of play the Minutewomen came out with didn’t slip Weinberg’s game after all. Most of the opening 15 were controlled by UMass, playing the ball in the River Hawks circle to start. Emilie Keij kicked things off for the Minutewomen off a pass from Danahy to set her up to fire one home, going up 1-0.

The game went into extra minutes by way of Lowell becoming an entirely different team in the third quarter.

“[Lowell] came out in the third quarter just fighting,” Weinberg said. “[The River Hawks] upped their intensity, their pressure on us and just their overall energy and it took us almost a whole quarter to get that back. We can be better at responding to those moments so we don’t go down a goal and have to come back from behind.”

Three was Lowell’s magic number. At the 3:33 mark in the third, Isabelle Halters connected on a corner penalty to go up 2-1, just three minutes after her teammate Caitlin Little tied things up 1-1. UMass took the punch for nearly too long. It wasn’t until freshman Gabrielle Benkenstein stepped up for her heroic goal, tying things at 2-2 with just over four minutes in the final quarter of regulation.

With fewer players on the field in extra minutes, breakaway opportunities multiply. Twice in each overtime frame, the River Hawks had speed and numbers but on her own, Keij stopped both opportunities. In the first OT, Keij cleanly cleared a three vs one fast break and in the second, handled two skilled and speedy forwards on her own.

Weinberg applauded Keij’s work as a ball distributor, mentioning that her ball speed is fantastic and recognized that on defense this year has already stopped one on one chances, even just three games in.

“She has great hands and she is able to pick it off, I thought she played fantastic today,” Weinberg said of her senior.

The Kennedy Cup, “established in the fall of 2018 and will be awarded annually to the team with the most wins in the cumulative season series between the UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst.” The idea came to be in 2013, when both teams decided to play for a trophy  when UMass Lowell joined Division I in the fall of 2013.

On Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex, the Minutewomen let freshman goalie Myrte Van Herwijnen hold up the glass trophy and bring it back to her team. Van Herwijnen finished with four saves.

UMass has a quick turnaround on Sunday, when New Hampshire comes to town. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

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