As members of the field hockey team watched Saturday’s Atlantic Ten Conference Championship game from the sidelines of Geasey Field, a few Owls said they, not Masschusetts, should have been playing Richmond in the finals.
The Owls ended their season Friday in defeat, a 2-1 overtime loss to UMass in the A-10 semifinals.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that Temple was the better team in [Friday’s] match [against UMass],” assistant coach Melissa Stubblefield said. “We would have put up a great performance [against Richmond], but unfortunately it’s not the way it happened.”
The Owls may have been disappointed, but they had their chances against UMass. They took an early lead in the first half with a goal from senior forward Melissa Fritze. Just eight minutes later, the Minutewomen fired back with a goal from forward Mary Shea. Although the Owls held an advantage over UMass in shots and penalty corners in the first half, they were unable to add to their lead before intermission.
The second half brought the Owls hope, as Fritze found the back of the cage again just eight minutes into the period. Upon review from officials, however, the goal was called back. Senior Katie Stevenson said the goal was denied because it hit Fritze’s stick and her foot at the same time.
Coach Amanda Janney was unhappy with the call.
“I think it was a huge letdown for the team. We knew we scored a legitimate goal and they called it back,” Janney said. “It was a huge disappointment and we’re sorry it happened in a game like this.”
Neither team was able to add to the score in the second half. The Owls had many opportunities, but were unable to capitalize on any of their shots.
“[Scoring] was our biggest downfall,” Janney said. “We just couldn’t keep possession of the ball long enough to get quality shots off.”
The score was tied at the end of regulation, forcing an overtime period. The Owls had controlled most of the game offensively, but were unable to keep that momentum during the extra frame, managing only one shot. With four minutes remaining in overtime, UMass defenseman Erin Parker scored the game-winning goal off an assist from Shea.
Fritze said she expected the Owls to win their first game of the A-10 tournament, since they had defeated UMass, 2-1, in an overtime game earlier in the season.
“I think we just thought [a win over UMass] would fall into place for us,” Fritze said. “I think we played well, but there wasn’t that sense of urgency.”
A-10 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
Richmond easily defeated the Minutewomen, 7-1, on Saturday in the A-10 Championship game. This is the second consecutive year the Spiders have beaten UMass in the A-10 finals. The win notched Richmond’s fourth straight conference title.
The No. 20 Spiders took control early, scoring six times on 22 shots. UMass took one shot in the second half and converted it into a goal.
After dropping six consecutive games in the first month of the season, the Owls finished with an 11-10 overall record, and a 6-1 record against A-10 foes.
Players said they had a great season, despite losing in the conference semifinals.
“It has been the best season we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Stevenson said. “It was awesome how we reacted to the new coaching staff. They really came out and led the team.”
Janney said she is proud of what her team accomplished.
“Our entire team played so great this season,” Janney said. “They worked so hard to have a season like this that a lot of people didn’t expect us to have.”
Melissa DiPento can be reached at email@example.com.