Field Hockey falls to Stanford University 4-3 in back and forth game

Anouk Lalande scored her eighth goal of the season against Stanford Thursday afternoon. (Courtesy of UMass Lowell Athletics)

Kathryn Leeber
Connector Editor

The UMass Lowell field hockey team fell to the No. 12 Stanford Cardinal, 4-3, on Thursday afternoon at Cushing Field. Three different players scored for the River Hawks, but a Cardinal goal with just over a minute left to play secured the win for Stanford. Stanford forward Marissa Cicione scored three goals.

“I thought we played a really good game of field hockey. We asked the team to sort of dial in today and play a structured game and know that Stanford was going to bring their best and we did it for 70 minutes,” said UMass Lowell head coach Shannon Hlebichuk. “I thought we recovered well from our mistakes and I thought we scored when we needed to.”

The River Hawks struggled to maintain possession to start the game. An early penalty corner taken by Stanford midfielder Millie Stefanowicz challenged UMass Lowell but goalkeeper Eva Burkhout made the save.

Five minutes later, Cicione scored to give the Cardinal the first lead of the match. Burhout came out the goal to try and make the save, but the ball slipped past her foot.

Stanford looked to extend their lead as they kept the ball near the River Hawks’ goal. Forward Emma Alderton took a shot at the corner of the net but it crossed the goal and went out of bounds. Two penalty corners followed, but each shot taken by the Cardinal was saved by Burkhout.

UMass Lowell started to find their groove and played a more offensive match, but continually turned the ball over. They were able to get near the net and ultimately scored in the 21st minute.

Forward Anouk Lalande received a pass from forward Sophie Gehrels and was wide open to take the first shot of the game for the River Hawks. The ball went to the lower, right hand corner of the net to tie the game at 1-1. This was Lalande’s eighth goal of the season and she leads the team in both goals and total points.

In the 26th minute, UMass Lowell scored again after multiple shot attempts. Lalande stole the ball from Stanford and attempted a shot, but Cardinal goalkeeper Kelsey Bing came out of the net to stop the ball. Midfielder Carleen O’Connell grabbed the rebound and took a shot, but was denied by Bing. The following rebound was gathered by Gehrels who scored to give the River Hawks the lead.

“Sometimes when the aura of Stanford comes onto your field, you’re a little bit in awe just because of the university and the fact that they’re 12th in the country. I thought [the River Hawks] did an awesome job of answering that [first] goal and not stopping there and taking the lead,” said Hlebichuk. “That showed a lot of character in the team.”

With 5:15 left to play, Stanford maintained their composure and tied the game again off a penalty corner. Back Sarah Johnson played the ball in and forward Kristina Bassi sent in a shot that whizzed past Burkhout and tied the game, 2-2.

Stanford ended the half with 22 shots as opposed to UMass Lowell’s four. Consequently, Burkhout had 10 saves while Bing had two.

To start the second half, the Cardinal mirrored the start of the game by scoring early on. After taking a penalty corner, the ball was played to Cicione who shot from the top of the circle that went to the top corner of the net. Stanford led 3-2 with over 30 minutes left to play.

Stanford continued to keep the ball in their favor. Forward Corinne Zanolli took a shot in the 45th minute, but the ball went wide of the net. The Cardinal had two penalty corners, but neither were successful.

Immediately following the second penalty corner, the River Hawks ran with the ball towards Stanford’s goal. Forward Christa Doiron took the ball all the way into the circle and slid a shot into the net to tie the game again at 3-3.

With under two minutes to play and a tied game, both teams rallied to get a shot off. Stanford was blocked multiple times by the River Hawks’ defense, resulting in a fast break for UMass Lowell. As the ball made its way down the field, Doiron found Lalande who went one-on-one with Bing, but the Cardinal goalkeeper made the save.

The ball went back down the field and was played to Cicione. She sent the ball into the net to score her third goal of the game, resulting in a 4-3 final.

“It’s nice when you spread out the scoring. For us to have three different goal scorers, it’s awesome to watch. I just think we can build off a lot that we saw today and we’re in a really good position going forward,” Hlebichuk said.

The River Hawks return home Sunday, Sept. 24 to play Siena College at 1 p.m.

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