A-10 CHAMPS AGAIN: Field Hockey Claims Second Straight Crown
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Senior captain Mary Shea scored a first half goal, Cher King scored one in the second half, and the defense did the rest as the top-seeded UMass field hockey team (16-4) defeated second-seeded Richmond (10-11), 2-0, to win the Atlantic 10 Championship at Temple's Geasey Field on Saturday afternoon. The conference title is the Minutewomen's 11th all-time and second-straight under second-year head coach Justine Sowry. UMass will now host an NCAA play-in game on Tuesday against MAC champion Kent State at 1 p.m.
"We had the philosophy of a top-seed and it was total team effort," said two-time Atlantic 10 Coach of Year Justine Sowry. "It was going to take that for us to be successful today. It was just unbelievable."
Alesha Widdall made three saves in goal to earn her second-straight shutout of the tournament.
Both teams played a player down for 10 minutes early in the game when King and Hannah Hess were given yellow cards 6:30 into the game.
Just over two minutes later Kelly almost scored the game's first goal, tipping a long crossing pass of the right post.
With 18 minutes left in the half, Erin Parker dribbled in on the left side of the goal. The Richmond keeper came out of the goal and dove in front of the shot, making the save. Parker was assessed a yellow card on the play, putting the Minutewomen down a player for 10 minutes.
Less than two minutes later, King brought the ball into the circle against three defenders and won a penalty corner. Off the corner, Pott' original shot was blocked in front of the goal. The Richmond keeper attempted to clear the ball out of the circle, but it was stolen by Shea, who blasted a shot into the left corner of the goal, giving UMass a 1-0 lead with 15:28 left in the half. The goal was the senior captain's fourth of the season.
UMass took that 1-0 lead into halftime. The Minutewomen outshot the Spiders, 7-3, but were out-cornered, 3-1, in the first 35 minutes.
UMass kept the pressure on in the second half. With 22 minutes left in the game, King was able to win another corner in the Richmond circle. Off the insertion, Tait found King wide open on the left post for the goal, making it 2-0 with 21:12 left. The goal was King's third of the year and Tait earned her fourth assist on the play. The UMass defense was up to the challenge the rest of the game, limiting Richmond's opportunities by keeping the pressure on. For the game, the Minutewomen outshot the Spiders, 10-7, while Richmond had the edge in penalty corners, 6-4.
The Minutewomen will move on to the NCAA play-in game, to be played at home at Garber Field on Tuesday. UMass will play Kent State, the winner of the Mid-American Conference, at 1 p.m.
"We've had some really tough games," said Sowry. "To win like we have you have to take one game at a time and not be complacent at any point. We are just so happy that we'll be playing that game at home. We play well on our surface and the girls are feeling great. We're feeling confident and hopefully we can take that into the game and come out with a positive result."