The River Hawks are now 6-0-1 in their all-time record against the Hofstra Pride. Their record for the 2015-2016 is now 3-4. (George DeLuca)
by Hannah Manning
Despite a strong showing in the second half, the UMass Lowell field hockey team was handed their fourth loss of the season against Hofstra on Friday night. The 4-3 loss snapped a two-game win streak for the River Hawks.
The River Hawks came back from a three-goal deficit. Hofstra scored three straight times in the first half, but the River Hawks clawed back into the game with a strong possession game in the second.
Hopes for a come-behind win, which would’ve been UMass Lowell’s first-ever against Hofstra, were dashed within the last ten minutes of the game, where possession numbers slipped and Hofstra leveraged the play.
Head Coach Shannon Hlebichuk acknowledged the odds that were stacked against them. “I think anytime you put yourself in a three-goal deficit it’s going to be really hard to come back and win the game,” she said.
“I thought we struggled with goal scoring a bit in the first half, but came out with a new intensity in the second half,” Hlebichuk said.
Goal scoring came in clusters. Hofstra’s Claudia Marin Samper lit up the board with two goals in the first fifteen minutes of the first half. Their next goal didn’t come until thirteen minutes later, when Emily Gallagher’s third goal of the season seemed to hit the final nail in the River Hawks’ coffin.
However, sophomore forward/midfielder Torrie Huk struck back with a beauty of an unassisted goal during a corner. UMass Lowell headed into the second half trailing by two goals, but at least they hadn’t been shut out. They had more work to do, thirty-five minutes of it.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Federico kept UMass Lowell in the game for the whole seventy minutes, making eight saves for the night. She made two athletic saves during a Hofstra corner that directly led to a corner for her own team. Coach Hlebichuk said that she was put in a few sticky situations by the decisions made by the defense in the first half.
“I think overall [Federico] had some good clears at the end of the first half for us, and found a spark to keep us in the game that second half.”
The second half featured higher possession numbers, with an early scoring chance that put fans on their feet despite the rain and the cold. While Hofstra scored their fourth goal nine minutes into the half, the River Hawks answered with one of their own a mere thirteen seconds later. Carleen O’Connell scored off of a rebound that flew off of the Hofstra goalkeeper’s pads, a well-executed goal that gave the River Hawks a fighting chance.
That goal appeared to put a flame under their seats; the deficit was cut in half. A two-goal gap was much less imposing than a three-goal gap.
At the fifty-two minute mark, the River Hawks struck again, but it would be the last goal of the night for either team. Katie Luchino scored off of one of UMass Lowell’s eight corners of the game.
Torrie Huk had a stab at her second goal of the night, zeroing in on the Hofstra goal all alone until the ball was swept away from her. The rest of the game featured several River Hawks chances; UMass Lowell had fourteen shots on goal compared to Hofstra’s five.
Unfortunately for the River Hawks, the ball just stayed out of the gate. Possession slipped in the last eight minutes of the game, and they were unable to keep the momentum that rocketed them back into the game after a three-goal deficit.
The River Hawks will travel to Providence for a Sunday matinee game that will begin at 1 p.m. They return to Wicked Blue Field on Sept. 30 for their first America East conference matchup which will be against the University of Maine Black Bears.