Faced with their second overtime situation in two weeks, the field hockey team pulled out another close victory. The Owls (10-9, 5-1 in the Atlantic Ten Conference) gained a 2-1 victory over A-10 rival Massachusetts on Sunday.
Coach Amanda Janney said she was happy with how the team played.
“We played great in the first half and just a little inconsistent in the second half,” Janney said. “We lost control of the game in the second half, but once we had control of the game again, we made some really nice shots.”
The Owls controlled the game throughout much of the first half. Fourteen minutes into the game, junior Megan Hannahoe scored an unassisted goal off a rebound from a corner shot. The Owls took eight shots and four penalty corners in the first period.
The second half revealed some inconsistencies the Owls struggled with earlier in the season. Senior Ashley Shepps said passing was a problem in the Owls’ first few games, and it popped up as an issue again.
“During the second half, we were hacking at the ball like [UMass was],” Shepps said. “We got a little bit away from our usual game.”
After seeing UMass coach Patty Shea ejected from the game, the fired-up Minutewomen took six shots in the second half.
UMass senior Jaime Bawden was able to capitalize on one of the shots, tying the game with seven minutes remaining. The Owls were unable, although they had two corners, to regain the lead in regulation.
Five minutes into overtime, the Owls were awarded a penalty corner. Hannahoe scored with an assist from sophomore Alli Lokey.
Janney said the team’s defense, keyed by freshman goalkeeper Erin Hanshue’s five saves, was the most important factor in Sunday’s win.
“[Senior defenseman] Katie Stevenson had a heck of a game. If anything, our sweeper came up big where she made a lot of defensive stops,” Janney said. “She’s so consistent in the backfield for us, with her and Erin playing really well together.”
The Owls wrap up their season at home Saturday against city and A-10 rival Saint Joseph’s. The Hawks (10-8, 3-3) beat the same Minutewomen team, 4-3, on Friday.
Janney and assistant coach Ryan Langford agreed that playing St. Joe’s would not be a guaranteed victory for the Owls.
“They’re a quality team and they play with a lot of hustle,” Janney said. “If we can convert our corners like we did today, then we’ll be just fine.”
The Owls will honor their seven seniors before the game.
The Owls are 5-1 in A-10 play and have already secured their place in the conference tournament, to be held at Geasey Field on Nov. 4-5.
Richmond (11-5, 6-0), the league champion the last three seasons, beat the Owls, 4-0, on Oct. 16. The Spiders knocked the Owls out of the A-10 playoffs last season in a 4-0 shutout.
Janney is excited at the possibility of her team playing the Spiders in the postseason, again.
“We’re looking to get Richmond in the championship game,” Janney said. “Everyone’s excited and I’m looking forward to it since we did not do our best when we played them last week.”
“[The team] is fired up to play against Richmond,” Langford added. “When we played them earlier in the season, Richmond outplayed us and deserved to win. But it’s on our home turf and we’ve got our eyes on the prize. And that prize is Richmond.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.