West Chester field hockey dropped its opening match of Atlantic-10 conference play Friday on the road at the University of Massachusetts. The Lady Rams started the contest deadlocked for much of the first half until Minutewoman Lauren Gillespie tallied her third goal of the season in the 24th minute off an assist from Mary Shea. The Minutewomen weren’t done as Jaime Bourazeris scored another goal less than six minutes later to push the score to 2-0.
The Lady Rams entered the half down 2-0, hoping to get their offense going, but UMass goalkeeper Becky Letourneau saved four shots in the shutout.
The Minutewomen offense added two more scores off the sticks of Cher King and Kara Murphy, both unassisted.
Head Coach Kathy Krannebitter expressed the importance of starting this half of the season right.
“We really have two seasons,” Krannebitter said prior to the contest. “Everyone starts 0-0.”
Overall, the Lady Rams are 3-8 after losing their seventh consecutive game, but hold one loss in conference play so far.
“We’ve struggled down the stretch,” Krannebitter added. “We have a chance to turn things around.”
A huge part of winning within the division will be winning close games. This year, the Lady Rams have lost two heartbreaking games in overtime to Towson and Ursinus.
Krannebitter stressed that the offense will have to pick up from the younger players on the team.
“We’re excited to start conference play because we think we can take a lot of teams by surprise,” forward Sara Conrad said. Conrad has led the offense this year, registering two hat tricks against Ursinus and Lehigh.
“She’s so dynamic,” Krannebitter said of her senior star. “It really gives the kids something to look at.”
Frank Stern is a fourth-year student and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org