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’ second half struggles lead to 3-0 loss to Northwestern

The Minutewomen and Wildcats combine for 11 corners
Kayla Wong
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts field hockey team fell to No.3 Northwestern 3-0 on Saturday afternoon in Orono, Maine after struggling to find offense.

Defense was on display throughout the first half, covering the Wildcats (5-1)  to keep them away from goalkeeper Myrte van Herwijnen. Through almost 30 minutes, UMass (3-2) kept a hot Northwestern team off the board but with seven seconds left in the first half, the Wildcats drew a penalty shot. Peyton Halsey capitalized off the chance and shot the ball in the right side of the net giving Northwestern a 1-0 lead heading into the second half.

“It was not only our defense but our team overall,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “We were passing really well, really connecting and moving the ball. I think that Northwestern really had trouble with that, when you’re moving the ball so fast it’s really difficult to get any type of momentum.”

Before the penalty shot, the Wildcats had a penalty corner where they sent a hard shot at van Herwijnen but she made the save. The ball rebounded and she dove to keep the rebound away, but drew the penalty shot that led to the goal.

Northwestern’s second goal of the game was off a corner in the third period after Olivia Bent-Cole stick stopped to Maja Zivojnovic to widen the gap. Later in the fourth period, the Wildcats had another penalty shot after van Herwijnen went out of her crease to dive for the ball. Halsey was rewarded with her second goal of the day and gave Northwestern a 3-0 lead with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

“When you have the attacking power that Northwestern has, our defense held tight,” Weinberg said. “When your defense is holding strong for a certain period of time and you’re making saves on the line so close to your defensive goal, a penalty eventually is going to result. A team as threatening on its attack as Northwestern, they’re going to capitalize.”

Despite the loss, van Herwijnen had a career afternoon in the net with a season high nine saves. She faced 17 shots with the Wildcat offense constantly finding ways to get to the net. Throughout the afternoon, the goalkeeper was diving to make big saves and keep the Minutewomen in the game.

“I thought [van Herwijnen] played phenomenal,” Weinberg said. “It’s the life of a goalkeeper, you’re going to get scored on at some point during games or during certain games but I thought she kept the ball out of the net and made the saves she should have made [Saturday] and came up with a few phenomenal saves as well.”

At the 29 minute mark, Northwestern made a run down field and UMass struggled to keep up. The Wildcats managed to get van Herwijnen out of position in net but when they took the shot she found a way to save it. Then, Northwestern quickly took another shot but the goalkeeper made the stop.

While Northwestern’s offense thrived, UMass’ struggled, taking five shots. The Minutewomen had a solid opportunity in the first half to get on the board first but they missed the net. On a corner, Jess Beech started off the play with a pass to Emilie Keij. The ball landed on Hannah de Gast’s stick but she was unable to convert the scoring opportunity.

The Minutewomen have a quick turnaround, taking on the University of Maine on Sunday, Sept. 10 at 1:00 p.m. in hopes of a bounce back.

“Recovery is going to be pivotal, really shifting our mindset and focus to [Sunday], quickly letting [Saturday] behind us,” Weinberg said. “The team really felt that we outplayed them in the first half and we have to take the positives from that and move forward to [Sunday] to take on this regional opponent.”

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

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