UMass fights for 4-3 overtime win over New Hampshire

Minutewomen pick up third extra minutes win

Dylan+Nguyen%2F+Daily+Collegian

Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian

By Kayla Gregoire, Assistant Sports Editor

In its third win needing more than four quarters this season, the Massachusetts field hockey team took down New Hampshire on Sunday by a score of 4-3.

Both teams in the first half were battling to put the ball past the opposing goalkeeper but seemed to not be able to get the job done. The Minutewomen (3-1) were the first to take hard shot balls on UNH (3-1) goalkeeper Jemma Woods.  Woods made multiple diving saves to keep the score at zero.

“[Woods] played really well,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “I think the timing of her ground skills to make those saves when we had open shots with our ball carrier. I thought she did a great job and her intensity and energy I thought motivated the game in the fourth quarter.”

Heading into the fourth quarter, UMass was up by two goals, but the Wildcats clawed their way back into the game to take a 3-2 lead. The Minutewomen did allow the Wildcats comeback to discourage them.

As the clock was winding down, junior Claire Danahy connected on Gabrielle Benkenstein’s pass to tie the game up. Danahy kept her stick down to block out any UNH player from intercepting the ball.

“It was beautiful,” Weinberg said about the goal, “[Danahy] practices in that position almost every single day and over the years has been able to convert with us several times in that penalty corner. We were able to read what defense they were running, and we found that open space.”

UMass had the upper hand heading into the start of the game but struggled to show the offense on the board. Weinberg wants to emphasize to her players what a strong quarter for them looks like compared to a quarter where they are not producing.

“In the fourth quarter UNH was putting way more pressure on us, and we had trouble responding to that,” Weinberg said. “I’m proud of this win and we did a good job coming up like that in overtime, but we needed to do a better job finishing the game.”

Penalty corners were where the Minutewomen capitalized the most against the Wildcats. In the first half, UMass could not get the penalty corners to work, but once the third quarter hit, it was a new team. Despite not scoring in their first penalty corner, the Minutewomen were putting constant pressure on the team, almost getting it past the goalkeeper.

The first goal on a penalty corner was scored by Dempsey Campbell on a hard-hit tap in to make a 1-0 game. The second one was Danahy’s game tying goal.

“We made it work,” Weinberg said. “They didn’t follow the right call on that last corner we scored on, but they made it work so as long as the ball goes in the back of the net, that’s what matters.”

In overtime, it did not take UMass long to get it past the UNH goaltender. Four minutes into the frame, Benkenstein hit into the net on a penalty corner to give the Minutewomen the 4-3 win.

UMass heading into the game on Sunday had just come off an 80 minute slugfest win on Friday and was drained from all the competitive play. The Minutewomen knew they couldn’t go through another long overtime period on Sunday.

“We had a core group of players that were very fatigued,” Weinberg said. “The message was let’s score early. Let’s move the ball, pass around them so we don’t have to turn it over and recover.”

UMass will take a six-day break before heading to Iowa to take on Providence on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 2 p.m.

Kayla Gregoire can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Kaygregoire.