By Sports Editor Tom Griffin
The Corsair field hockey team snuck into the Little East Tournament following a pair of back-to-back losses to end their regular season.
The first matchup, pitted against Wellesley, was without-a-doubt a blowout. While Brittany Perry struck first and struck early in the second quarter, their 1-0 lead was quickly shattered by a barraging of six unanswered goals to close out the game, including a hat trick by Wellesley’s Carson Dennis.
Lacking offense to supplement a hotshot but overwhelmed goalie seems to be a recurring issue suffered by the Corsairs. While Perry led UMassD’s offense with two shots on top of scoring UMassD’s only goal, the Corsairs only challenged Wellesley’s goalie a total of 6 times from start to finish.
Katelyn Banalewicz, for as downtrodden as she may be, came away with nine saves but was too busy to stay perfect on the evening. Firing 24 shots, Wellesley overwhelmed the poor UMassD junior.
Their second match, slated against the equally struggling 5-13 Framingham State Rams, would prove a more appropriate and closely-contested matchup. Going toe-to-toe for attempted shots and tied at 2 goals apiece headed into overtime, the Rams snuffed out the Corsairs in the final minutes of their regular season.
The Corsairs exploited a weakened Rams defense to get four different players involved in offensive scoring efforts, with Hannah Steen, Brittany Perry, Deserai Melendez and Kylie Dias tying each other at three attempted shots apiece. Dias, halfway through the second quarter, scored a tiebreaking goal to take another early 1-0 lead in UMassD’s favor.
Letting up two Ram goals in the third and fourth periods, the Corsairs let their lead slip away.
Four minutes remained with the Rams leading 2-1. Kylie Dias, showing up a second time with the game on the line, found it within herself to force in another goal, forcing overtime.
Despite the UMassD pushback, and a spirited eight-minute overtime bout between the two teams, the Rams snuck in a third goal and stole away the Corsairs’ chances of breaking their late-season losing streak.
What the rams couldn’t steal away, however, was a playoff berth.
In the light that followed a particularly dark three-loss tunnel was a miracle playoff seeding within the Little East’s end-of-season tournament. While UMassD celebrates another playoff relevant sports team at the end of the fall sports season, their quarterfinal game comes with an asterisk: the 7-11, eighth-seeded Corsairs are immediately paired up against the first-ranked Worcester State Lancers.
Coming in as the underdogs in the Worcester-bas