After enduring 73 minutes of scoreless play, the hearts of the field hockey team and all its faithful fans who stuck out the cold were broken by a freshman.
“We played a great game. Shutting out a team like Massachusetts for over 70 minutes is a huge accomplishment,” coach Amanda Janney said. “This is a game we shouldn’t have lost like that.”
In the first round of the Atlantic Ten Conference tournament, hosted by Temple at Geasey Field, UMass freshman forward Lindsay Bowman scored the lone goal of the game – and the biggest goal of her young career – in the 73rd minute to knock the Owls out of the tournament early.
The first half was spent mostly in Temple’s defensive zone as the team struggled to clear the ball or counterattack.
“UMass put a lot of pressure on our backfield,” Janney said. “Our defense was really good by making stop after stop and keeping our team in it.”
The defense consistently cleared the ball out of the circle but couldn’t produce many counterattacks, and the Minutemen kept the Owls on their heels.
UMass had eight penalty corners in the first half, but were turned away on all eight by the play of the defense and senior goalie Sarah Dalrymple, who finished the first half with six saves. At one point late in the first half, UMass had four corners in a two-minute span – Dalrymple saved three, and the fourth sailed wide right.
Temple had two corners of its own in the first half, the second of which produced the team’s only shot on goal in the first half. Junior defender Carissa Young missed wide left, and UMass quickly recovered the rebound and pushed it back into Temple territory.
“Our offense played well and executed corners well,” Janney said. “We just still didn’t get enough shots, not even close to enough shots.”
The first half ended in a scoreless tie. UMass recorded 11 shots on goal, six of which were saved by Dalrymple.
The second half began with what looked to be a scary injury to leading scorer junior forward Bridget Settles. A ball bounced high off a stick and hit her in the face near her own net, but she returned moments later. The second half was more evenly matched as Dalrymple continued to hold UMass scoreless, and the Cherry and White managed to put some of their own pressure on the Minutemen.
“We made some adjustments, changing the way we wanted to pressure them, and the girls just stepped up and made plays,” Janney said.
The defensive battle continued until the Owls finally got their best chance to score with about two minutes left. Sophomore forward Katie Briglia put a shot on goal off a corner that bounced off the goalie’s pads right to Settles, who grabbed the rebound and attempted to put the shot over the goalie, who was down. The ball didn’t get enough air under it, and it was stopped by UMass junior keeper Alesha Widdall.
The season-ending strike came three minutes into the first overtime. On a quick restart deep in Temple territory, Bowman took a pass from senior forward Katie Kelly on the left side of the net and put the ball past Dalrymple, setting off the UMass celebration and ensuring its place in the finals.
“It was just a breakdown in defense,” Janney said. “It’s just disappointing that it ended on a quick restart and small defensive mistake.”
Kelly, who had six shots, three on goal, led UMass. Briglia, Settles and Young each had one shot on goal for the Owls.
It was the second time this season that Temple came close to knocking off the A-10 leaders but lost, 1-0, both times. The Owls finished the season 9-12 overall and 4-3 in conference play.
Settles led the Owls with 13 goals on the season, followed by Briglia, who finished with seven. Four Owls were named to All-Conference teams. Briglia and Settles both made First-Team All-Conference, junior midfielder Becca Keener was named to the Second-Team All-Conference and freshman midfielder Mandi Shearer made the All-Rookie Team.
Brandon Stoneburg can be reached at email@example.com.