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UMass field hockey to open NCAA tournament against Syracuse  

The University of Massachusetts field hockey team will try to add to the school’s history of postseason success against Syracuse Saturday.

The Minutewomen will attempt to upset the No. 5-ranked Orange for the second time this year, this time with a lot more on the line.

UMass (15-8) and Syracuse (17-2) meet at 2 p.m. in the first round of the 16-team NCAA tournament at the Penn State Field Hockey Complex. The winner will play Sunday at 2 p.m. against the winner of No. 4 Penn State and Albany for a chance to go to the Final Four next weekend at Old Dominion.

Facing ranked opponents is nothing new for the Minutewomen, who played 12 of them en route to the NCAA tournament. UMass was 6-6 in those games. Two of those wins came during UMass’ current 10-game winning streak, which started with its 2-1 upset win over the then No. 1 Orange.

In that game, the Minutewomen fell behind 1-0, but rallied behind goals from Noralie Weusthuis and Thando Zono to deliver the upset.

This is UMass’ 23 trip to the NCAA tournament. The program has reached four Final Fours.

Some of UMass’ greatest athletic accomplishments have come at the expense of the Orange. The men’s basketball team beat ’Cuse in the 1992 NCAA tournament to earn a bid to the Sweet Sixteen and in the 2008 NIT to earn a trip to Madison Square Garden. In 2005, the UMass men’s lacrosse team defeated the Orange in the NCAA tournament, ending Syracuse’s 24-year streak of reaching the Final Four.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Follow UMass coverage on Twitter at twitter.com/GazetteUMass. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage.

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