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UMass set to host Atlantic 10 Field Hockey Tournament

AMHERST — While the University of Massachusetts field hockey team’s resume is loaded with wins over ranked teams, including No. 1 Syracuse, coach Carla Tagliente thinks her team needs to win this weekend’s Atlantic 10 tournament at Garber Field to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament.

“I don’t think we’ll get in without this,” Tagliente said. “It’s too close with other teams in the region. We have a very strong schedule, but so do a lot of teams we’ll be on the bubble with. We’re looking at this like we need to win it.”

UMass heads into the event on a seven-game winning streak. Tagliente thought her team was hitting the postseason on a high note.

“We’re playing really great hockey starting with Syracuse,” she said. “We’re gradually getting better and peaking at the right time. I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at.”

Senior defender Thando Zono agreed.

“It was a good buildup,” the South Africa native said. “A switch hit for us after the Syracuse game. Since then we’ve had very good momentum, winning games and having things come together.”

The No. 2-seeded Minutewomen (12-8, 6-1 Atlantic 10) will host No. 3 Temple (12-8, 5-2) today at 2 p.m. The other semifinal features No. 1 Richmond (15-4, 7-0) and No. 4 Virginia Commonwealth (13-5, 4-3) at 11 a.m. The championship game is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Garber Field.

The winner of the Atlantic 10 tournament will host an NCAA Play-in game Tuesday at 1 p.m. against the winner of the Northeast Conference.

UMass beat Temple 4-1 last week at Garber.

Senior forward Nicole Cordero thought the team was prepared for postseason play.

“It’s finally here,” Cordero said. “This is everything we’ve worked for in preseason and during the season. It’s time to show what we have. We’re in a good spot.”

MINUTEWOMEN HONORED — Sophomore back Lauren Allymohamed was named the Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year and Tagliente was the league’s coach of the year as the Minutewomen were heavily honored by the conference on the eve of its tournament.

Allymohamed was one of six Minutewomen to land on an all-conference team. She was joined by Zono, Cordero and senior midfielder Kim Young on the first team.

Goalkeeper Sam Carlino and midfielder Noralie Weusthuis were on the second team and the all-rookie team.

Young and Zono were also on the all-academic team.

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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