WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. – University of Massachusetts field hockey rallied back from a halftime deficit and earned the decisive goal with three minutes, 24 seconds to go in the game as the Minutewomen won their NCAA Championship Play-In Game at Monmouth 4-3 on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
Izzie Delario scored twice and assisted on another goal while Sarah Hawkshaw scored once and Nicole Miller added a goal. The trio of forwards accounted for all 10 of the UMass points in the game.
Julie Laszlo scored two of Monmouth's three goals while Casey Hannah added one tally.
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With the game knotted at 3-3, Miller created a scoring opportunity as she raced into the circle from the left side of So Sweet A Cat Field. Miller sent a play by Monmouth goalkeeper Christen Piersanti, which Delario raced onto and hammered into the cage.
Despite the deficit, Monmouth kept the offensive pressure on UMass and drew a penalty corner seconds before the scoreboard clock expired. However, the UMass defense locked down and sealed the victory as it turned aside back-to-back penalty corner opportunities for the win.
Hawkshaw posted the Minutewomen to a 1-0 lead with her 15th goal of the season, scored on a reverse-stick shot in the 12th minute. Hawkshaw dribbled to her left and fired a cross-cage attempt out of the reach of Monmouth goalkeeper Christen Piersanti.
The Hawks answered with consecutive penalty corner goals off the stick of Julie Laszlo. Monmouth evened the game at the 13:11 mark and went ahead on Lazslo's second of the game, scored with only 51 seconds to go in the first half.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the second half when Massachusetts rallied only to see the Hawks answer back as the game headed into its final minutes with a tie score.
The Minutewomen evened the game at 2-2 early in the final frame. Delario raced to the right endline and turned toward the cage before she sent a goalmouth pass to Miller at the left post. Miller redirected Delario's pass off the goal backboard for her ninth goal of the season.
Delario put UMass back in front only nine minutes later. The Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, native found an open space in the Monmouth defense even with the left post and struck a hard shot into the right side of the cage for the senior's 11th goal of the year.
Hanna responded for the Hawks and brought the score to 3-3 via a corner deflection. Laszlo sent a play toward the cage and Hanna tipped the ball up into the top portion of the goal with 17 minutes, 55 seconds left.
The Minutewomen (14-7) move on to face No. 2 Maryland in the NCAA Championship First Round. The Terps are the No. 2 seed and enter the game with a 17-4 record. The winner of the contest advances to face the victor of North Carolina (17-5) versus Stanford (13-6) in the Elite Eight.