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

Minutewomen top Maine 3-2 in first matchup of 2023 season

Keij, de Gast and Herberhold score against Black Bears
Kayla Wong

After falling 3-0 against Northwestern on Saturday, the No. 20 Massachusetts field hockey team regained its spark, defeating the Maine Black Bears on Sunday afternoon.

“Coming off of our game [Saturday] against Northwestern … we talked about continuing throughout the game and play a passing game rather than a running game and I thought that was much improved from [Saturday],” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “We also talked about getting outcomes in our attack from the 25 which obviously we were able to do [Sunday].”

Just 44 seconds into the first quarter an offensive corner was caused by Maine’s (2-4) Tereza Holubcova against UMass (4-2). Six seconds later a penalty shot was called, and Maine’s Poppy Lambert took the stand, firing a shot towards the upper right side of the net. Both scoring attempts were unsuccessful, with UMass goalie Brooke Richards saving both.

“We have had four penalty strokes in the last two games … you talk about critical moments and [Richards] stepping in and saving that penalty stroke very early off in the game. If they would have scored that it would have completely changed the momentum, so it was a key moment,” Weinberg said.

At 9:46 of the first quarter the Minutewomen got their first chance to score when Hannah de Gast caused an offensive corner to be called. Steph Gottwals and de Gast assisted Emilie Keij on the goal.

Up 1-0 going into the second quarter, the Minutewomen found themselves another opportunity to put the ball in the net at 20:39, with de Gast receiving the ball and quickly slapping it past Maine goalie Mallory Drayer.

This 2-0 lead didn’t last for long, as Mallory Mackesy scored at minute 24:21, cutting the Minutewomen’s lead to one going into the third quarter. Throughout the Minutewomen’s 2023 campaign, they have struggled to maintain large leads.

 “The more goals you can score the better and obviously it puts us under a lot of pressure when we give up goals late,” Weinberg said. “We only have a one goal lead so if we can widen that gap a little bit with the scoreline we’re [going to] be more comfortable in games.”

On a reverse shot early into the third quarter, Mali Herberhold widened the Minutewomen’s lead to 3-1 after receiving the ball and slyly tapping it into the net. Herberhold has come in clutch several times this season for the Minutewomen, and consistently gets the ball close to the net.

“[Herberhold] is a really talented attacker, she’s got great hands,” Weinberg said. “We gave her the freedom to attack … and she was able to score a beautiful goal.”

Two minutes later the Black Bears had a scoring opportunity on an offensive corner but missed their chance when the ball was cleared out of the circle and headed down field. Maine’s Holubcova added two more tallies to her list of caused offensive corners, but even with two opportunities the Black Bears did not find the back of the net.

With four minutes left in the fourth quarter, a penalty was called on  Richards, and Maine’s Lambert once again had a golden chance to score. Lambert fired a shot into the bottom left-hand corner that just barely made it by Richards, cutting UMass’ lead to 3-2 with just under three minutes of play left in regulation.

As the clock counted down the last five seconds, the Minutewomen stifled the Black Bear offense, even after Maine’s goalie was pulled resulting in an extra field player.

“We knew [Sunday] was a must win for us not only from a regional opponent but the mentality of the team coming out of this weekend and into conference play next weekend,” Weinberg said.

After Sunday’s win the Minutewomen’s record sits at 4-2 and they hope to add another win when they face St. Louis at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 15.

Lucy Postera can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @LucyPostera.

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