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 defeats Lock Haven 4-2, advances to A-10 championship

Minutewomen have four different goal scorers in the win
Dylan Nguyen/ Daily Collegian (2022)

All full team effort guided the Massachusetts field hockey team to the Atlantic 10 finals after a 4-2 victory against No. 3 Lock Haven (12-7, 5-2 A10) in the semifinals on Thursday.

No. 2 UMass (14-5, 6-1 A10) scored three consecutive goals to grab the 3-1 lead in the third quarter, and put itself firmly in the driver’s seat, but the Bald Eagles slowly but surely robbed the Minutewomen of their momentum.

Lock Haven dominated UMass in total penalty corners, 11-6. This allowed it to maintain possession in opposing territory as it was continuously awarded scoring opportunities in the third quarter. After four penalty corners in three minutes, Jazmin Palma tightened the score at 3-2 thanks to a penalty stroke goal.

With The Bald Eagles fans given new life, the bleachers erupted with cheers and applause from the dueling fanbases. Mia Smith silenced the away crowd by scoring a dagger just a little over a minute later.

“Mia [Smith’s] very vocal in our pregame meetings about just wanting it and wanting the win,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “When that desire met her improvement in skill level, she’s really been able to score some goals for us in critical moments this season.”

The drive started with Savanna Henderson getting the ball to a wide open Mali Herberhold in the middle of the field. Herberhold, who excelled all season long in her ability to get the ball to her teammates in scoring situations, skipped the past one defender and drew two more to her location before dishing it off to Smith who spun around and shot a shot past the outstretched leg of the keeper, off the right post and in. Smith leaped into the air before jumping on top of Herberhold, who was smiling ear to ear.

“I’m so excited because [Smith] used to be a little frantic and now she’s so much more confident on the ball,” Steph Gottwals said. “[Smith] knows what she’s doing, and it’s great to see her grow so much.”

Following an uneventful first quarter, UMass found itself trailing by one to the Bald Eagles after Jazmin Palma scored on a penalty stroke goal less than a minute into the second quarter.

“It was early on in the game, and we know we’ve been in this situation several times this season, but our team definitely picked it up after that goal,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “If that’s what it takes, let’s get the momentum going.”

The goal jolted the Minutewomen into action, as Jess Beech executed a designed play to perfection to sneak a wide open goal into the net off a penalty corner. Paula Lorenzini assisted on the score.

After garnering the assist to Beech, Lorenzini registered a goal of her own on a long shot following a penalty corner, this time with Emilie Keij and Steph Gottwals assisting. Gottwals had her unselfishness rewarded when sent a backwards shot just inside the post and into the net to give her team the two score lead. Aisling Murray got the assist on the play.

While it will technically be listed as an away game, the Minutewomen will play No. 1 Saint Joseph’s for the A-10 Championship in Amherst. The game will be played on UMass’ home turf at the Gladchuk Field Hockey Complex with the game slated for a 12 p.m. start on Saturday.

“The matchups in the midfield is where we really struggled with Saint Joe’s the first time we played them,” Weinberg said. “So we need a better pressing plan to be able to hang with their midfield line.”

“One thing about UMass fans is that they really come out,” Gottwals said. “Just hearing people on the sidelines I think will be really big for us … This turf and understanding the bounces and where everything is going to go is huge for us.”

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

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