Nov. 10, 2012
AMHERST, Mass. - No. 16 UMass field hockey faltered in its NCAA Tournament First Round contest with No. 5 Syracuse, 4-2 at Penn State's Field Hockey Complex on Saturday afternoon. Senior defender Thando Zono tallied twice for the Minutewomen to finish the season with 33 points on 14 goals and five assists.
"We didn't come out and play our best in the first half," UMass head coach Carla Tagliente said. "We came out tentative, paid the price early on and dug ourselves a hole. At halftime we talked about it and talked about relaxing and just playing a great second half. I thought the team responded well, scored two goals and finished strong."
The Orange (18-2) secured three goals in the first half to take a 3-0 lead into the break. Syracuse notched its first mark in the ninth minute, with Lauren Brooks breaking the scoreless tie. Kelsey Millman and Jordan Page followed with a tally each in the 17th and 23rd minutes, respectively.
After Syracuse added a goal in the opening minutes of the second half, Zono recorded consecutive tallies to pull UMass within two of tying.
"Syracuse came out strong and was doing the right things and we dug ourselves a hole being 3-0 down in the first half," Zono said. "In the second half we came back, but it was just too much of a deficit to close with the amount of time we had left, but just to see the heart and passion result in goals when you have nothing left in the tank and just keep fighting for every ball was outstanding."
The Grahamstown, South Africa, native earned the first tally following a penalty corner. Sophomore defender Lauren Allymohamed controlled play at the top-left of the circle and fired a pass to Zono on the right side, with the senior defender blasting an attempt inside the right post for the first UMass goal.
"We practiced it [the penalty corner] after we introduced it this week," said Zono of how she scored her first of two goals on the game. "It was great timing by Lauren [Allymohamed] as their defense started to come toward me, but she held it for a second longer, passed it and I aimed for the right post."
Zono added the second tally on a penalty stroke with less than three minutes remaining. After Syracuse was whistled for an infraction in the circle, Zono stepped in and placed a shot toward the right side-netting of the cage.
Goalkeeper Sam Carlino made 14 saves in the cage for UMass, one shy of tying the freshman's single-game career-high, set against No. 3 Maryland on Sept. 9. Leann Stiver recorded three stops for the Orange to help preserve the outcome. For the game, shots favored the Orange, 26-7, including an 18-5 advantage in on-target attempts. Syracuse also led in penalty corners, 9-5.
With the loss, UMass ends the 2012 season with a 15-9 overall record. The wins total marks the 15th season in the history of the program - which dates back to 1975 - a Minutewomen team has won at least 15 victories. p>The loss marked the first for the Minutewomen in 11 contests as UMass entered NCAA play with a 10-game winning streak. UMass had previously upset Syracuse once this season, earning a 2-1 come-from-behind victory at Garber Field on Oct. 11 to down the previously undefeated No. 1-nationally ranked Orange.