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 field hockey’s defensive play routes to 1-0 loss against VCU

The Rams draw nine penalty corners against the Minutewomen
Kalina Kornacki
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts field hockey team had calls that did not go its way in a defensive game that led to a 1-0 loss to VCU on Friday afternoon.

After 30 minutes of play, the Minutewomen (6-5, 2-1 Atlantic 10) and Rams (8-2, 2-1 A-10)  both could not find the back of the net. A defensive game for both teams, for most of the first half, VCU controlled the field, with possession on its side.

Eight minutes into the third quarter, Mora Marrero shot the ball on net past goalkeeper Myrte van Herwijnen. While the shot was not on target, Josephine Jense was right behind the goalkeeper to deflect the ball for a Rams goal, the lone goal of the game.

The goal was after penalty corner calls that went against UMass, leaving players tired against VCU.

With the constant possession the Rams had, they drew five penalty corners in the first half alone compared to the Minutewomen’s three. By the end of the game, VCU had nine penalty corners while UMass had five. The UMass defense stayed strong despite the constant pressure of VCU’s offense, not allowing a goal during the penalty corners.

“I think our defensive penalty corner unit has done a great job and continues to,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “They played very well this game. We need to be able to limit [penalty corners] because a good team will eventually convert on a penalty corner. I thought our defensive penalty corner unit was outstanding against [VCU].”

In the first penalty corner for the Rams in the second quarter at the 13:07 mark, UMass’ defense did not allow VCU to get past the top of the circle. The pressure of the defense took players away from van Herwijnen who was standing tall in net.

Van Herwijnen looked calm in net, making quick saves, keeping the score at 0-0 for the first half of the game. The Rams took four shots on goal in the first half, but the goalkeeper saved them all. In a penalty corner at the eight minute mark, Maggie Goodwin hit the ball past van Herwijnen but with the help of Jess Beech’s foot the goal was called off and led to another corner.

“Our deep defense played really well,” Weinberg said. “I thought [van Herwijnen] had an outstanding game. She came up with a lot of big saves.”

The goalkeeper ended her afternoon with eight saves while VCU goalkeeper Sheridan Messier saved three shots. Van Herwijnen was pulled at the five minute mark to allow Dempsey Campbell to come in for an extra set of fresh legs on the field. Not long after the sophomore was pulled, the Rams drew a penalty corner due to the Minutewomen not giving them five yards on their free hit. With no goalkeeper, UMass was left attempting to save the ball and not allowing a goal to keep the score 1-0.

After playing two penalty corners, the Minutewomen made two saves, even being credited for the saves in the game stats. On the first save, the ball bounced towards Claire Danahy but she used her body to keep the ball away from the net.

“It’s a dangerous opportunity of course when you pull your goalkeeper and the opposition has an attack penalty corner,” Weinberg said. “I thought we ran that very well and were able to deny them of goals on three penalty corners.”

The penalty corner put momentum on UMass’ side, getting it with just under two minutes remaining in the game. Josie Rossbach put the ball in front of the Ram’s net and the ball bounced right past the goalkeeper with what seemed to be a tying goal. As the Minutewomen cheered, the refs raised their hands to waive off the goal due to the ball hitting Steph Gottwals’ foot.

The distressed Minutewomen tried to fight back in the minute they had, but could not move towards the net for another shot attempt.

UMass travels back home to Gladchuck Field to face Yale on Sunday, Oct. 1 with game time set for 2:00 p.m.

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

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