Junior Erica Allan
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-Junior forward Eleanor Taylor (Fairhaven, MA/Bishop Stang HS) scored three goals as the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's field hockey team defeated visiting Worcester State, 4-1, in a first round Little East Conference playoff match at Cressy Field Wednesday evening.
In the 14th minute of play, sophomore forward Kayla Ribsam (Lambertsville, NJ/South Hunterdon Regional HS) had a breakaway opportunity, but was fouled on the play resulting in a penalty stroke for UMD. On the ensuing attempt, Taylor fired a shot past WSU junior goalkeeper Rebecca Mullen (Peabody, MA/Peabody HS), staking UMD to a 1-0 lead. Taylor added her second goal 15 minutes later when she gathered a loose ball in the goalmouth, and snuck a shot into the back of the net, pushing the UMD lead to 2-0. With 4:15 to play in the opening half, freshman defender Chelsea Campbell (Barre, MA/Quabbin Regional HS) delivered a long pass upfield to junior forward Erica Allan (Amherst, MA/Amherst HS), who beat her defender one-on-one and scored, making the score 3-0 UMD going into halftime.
Less than three minutes into the second half, Taylor netted her final tally, redirecting a shot from junior midfielder Jenna Miedzionoski (Beverly, MA/Hamilton-Wenham Regional HS) past WSU freshman goalie Sydney Dionis (Shrewsbury, MA/Shrewsbury HS), increasing the Corsairs' advantage to 4-0. The Lancers' lone goal came in the 51st minute when senior forward Samantha Janda (Sterling, MA/West Boylston HS) scored unassisted, en route to the 4-1 victory for the Corsairs.
"I knew we were prepared for today," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Nicole Castonguay. "We had good competition to end our season that definitely got us ready. We spread the field better today, we worked on a different type of press, we played stronger overall defense and we were able to deliver. Erica, Eleanor and [junior defender] Taryn [Cardiel](Moorpark, CA/Moorpark HS) were key players for us and it was important to have some players take control on the field. It's going to be one hell of a game on Saturday. Since we played Plymouth last week, we're mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for the next challenge and we're a difficult team to beat twice."
The Corsairs matched the Lancers with eight shots apiece. UMD sophomore goalkeepers Lauren O'Brien (Rochester, MA/Old Rochester Regional HS) made three saves, while Mullen had one save for Worcester State.
The Corsairs improved to 11-9 with the victory, while the Lancers dropped to 10-8 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they visit Plymouth State Friday afternoon in the semi-finals. The Panthers ousted Western Connecticut earlier today, 5-0. The match was the final action of the season for Worcester State.