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 completes comeback to advance to A-10 final

Mali Herberhold nets game-winner in overtime
Devin Lippman
Daily Collegian (2023)

The Massachusetts field hockey team completed an almost improbable comeback Friday afternoon to defeat the VCU Rams and advance to the Atlantic 10 final.

The Minutewomen (12-6, 5-2 Atlantic 10) intercepted a pass up field by VCU (13-6, 5-2 Atlantic 10) and forwarded the ball to Sophomore Mali Herberhold. Herberhold put her back to the Ram defender, dribbled to her right, popped the ball up in the air to get by another defender and fired it into the back of the net. Her goal was met with much jubilation and the entire team came out and mobbed her in a dog pile right in front of the goal. The goal was Herberhold’s seventh of the year but fifth game-winning goal.

“(Herberhold) is incredibly skilled on our strike line. She really has the ability to create something,” head coach Barb Weinberg said. “Anytime she got close to the circle, she was trying to create a goal-scoring opportunity for us and she did just that, and then came away with a game-winner.”

Setting up the overtime was UMass’ leading goal scorer Dempsey Campbell. With 12 minutes left in the contest, the Minutewomen rallied up the field and Herberhold found herself in front of the net firing the ball off the pad of VCU’s goalie into the stick of Campbell who fired the ball in to cut the deficit to one. The goal gave Herberhold her sixth assist of the year.

The game-tying goal came just two minutes later when Dempsey found herself in front of the net with the ball after a cross-crease pass. She fired it into the Rams’ goalie who stopped it only for the save to deflect right back into Campbell’s stick who tied the game up with just 10 minutes of play remaining. Shortly following the goal, VCU received a yellow card giving UMass the advantage and allowing them to keep control of the ball which didn’t amount to anything and ended regulation tied.

“(Campbell) is a fighter. She’s a competitor… When times are getting tough and we need to push for a result, (Campbell) is gonna be the one that’s gonna give us that mentality and that’s exactly what happened today going into the fourth quarter,” Weinberg said. “She wasn’t ready to be done with her season.”

VCU had control of the game for three and a half quarters, steadily outshooting and overall outplaying the Minutewomen. Heading into the fourth, the Rams had outshot UMass 15-4 and had nine penalty corners to the Minutewoman’s one. VCU’s first goal came at the end of the third quarter and their other goal came mere minutes before Campbell’s first goal. In the fourth quarter and overtime, UMass outshot VCU 6-4 turning the tide in their favor.

Sheridan Messier, the Rams’ goalie had a consistent game remnant of what she had done all year. Her, as well as the Minutewomen’s own Myrte van Herwijnen, were head over the shoulders the best goaltenders in the A-10 this year each getting three goalie of the week honors. No other goalie had more than one on the year. Both were top two in saves per game, shutouts, saves and goals against average in the conference.

UMass’ next game is the A-10 championship against a familiar foe in St. Joe’s. Earlier in the year, the two faced off in a double overtime bout where the Hawks came out on top 2-1 after a controversial call led to a free shot for St. Joe’s who found the back of the net. Additionally, the Minutewomen lost last year’s A-10 title game to The Hawks. St. Joe’s is a perfect 7-0 against conference opponents this year. The bout is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4th at 12 p.m.

“We felt that we had a really strong performance against St. Joe’s in the regular season,” Weinberg said about the upcoming championship battle. “The team is confident going into this game on Saturday…We’ve got to tighten up on the defensive end and limit our penalty corners and we’ve got to generate a little bit more on attack and regulation than what we did today.”

Owen Shelffo can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @owen_shelffo

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