Scrolling Headlines:

UMass tuition set to rise 3-4 percent for 2017-2018 school year -

July 18, 2017

PVTA potential cuts affect UMass and five college students -

July 10, 2017

New director of student broadcast media at UMass this fall -

July 10, 2017

Whose American Dream? -

June 24, 2017

Man who threatened to bomb Coolidge Hall taken into ICE custody -

June 24, 2017

Cale Makar drafted by Colorado Avalanche in first round of 2017 NHL Entry Draft -

June 24, 2017

Conservatives: The Trump experiment is over -

June 17, 2017

UMass basketball lands transfer Kieran Hayward from LSU -

May 18, 2017

UMass basketball’s Donte Clark transferring to Coastal Carolina -

May 17, 2017

Report: Keon Clergeot transfers to UMass basketball program -

May 15, 2017

Despite title-game loss, Meg Colleran’s brilliance in circle was an incredible feat -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball loses in heartbreaker in A-10 title game -

May 14, 2017

Navy sinks UMass women’s lacrosse 23-11 in NCAA tournament second round, ending Minutewomen’s season -

May 14, 2017

UMass softball advances to A-10 Championship game -

May 13, 2017

UMass basketball adds Rutgers transfer Jonathan Laurent -

May 13, 2017

UMass women’s lacrosse gets revenge on Colorado, beat Buffs 13-7 in NCAA Tournament First Round -

May 13, 2017

Meg Colleran dominates as UMass softball tops Saint Joseph’s, advances in A-10 tournament -

May 12, 2017

Rain keeps UMass softball from opening tournament play; Minutewomen earn A-10 honors -

May 11, 2017

Former UMass football wide receiver Tajae Sharpe accused of assault in lawsuit -

May 10, 2017

Justice Gorsuch can save the UMass GEO -

May 10, 2017

Piekos named starter, DeSantis doubtful

The Massachusetts men’s soccer team knows a thing or two about winning games on Rudd Field. The Minutemen (4-3-3, 1-1-0 Atlantic 10) have recorded shutouts 24 times there, and have posted a 43-19-7 at home since the facility opened in 2002.

UMass has won 70 percent of its A-10 match-ups at “Fort Rudd,” and will host five of its seven conference games in 2009 at home. This weekend, the Minutemen open their A-10 schedule at Rudd against Temple on Friday and Saint Joseph’s on Sunday, after opening its conference schedule on the road.

The Minutemen split last weekends A-10 opener with a loss to Dayton on Sunday, 1-0 in a double-overtime match that was a rematch of last seasons A-10 tournament final. UMass defeated Xavier on Friday, 1-0 for its first conference victory of the season. After two A-10 games, the Minutemen have scored one goal while allowing one goal, but have been out shot by opponents 30-19 in the two game span.

With one win at home so far in 2009, a 3-0 victory over Colgate, UMass coach Sam Koch knows how important it is to get wins at home, especially against conference opponents.

“It’s really important for us to have a good result,” Koch said. “We have to defend well as a team, [and] we have got to make it difficult for them to play.”

The Minutemen outscored opponents 7-2 in four A-10 games last season at Rudd, winning all four games against Richmond, George Washington, Saint Louis and Charlotte. UMass defeated the nationally-ranked Billikens on Nov. 7, 2-1 in double overtime to earn a bid to the A-10 tournament, a tournament in which the Minutemen reached the championship game.

DeSantis out

In the opening weekend of A-10 play, the Minutemen were without their best offensive threat, as senior forward Mark DeSantis did not see action in either of UMass’ contests against the Musketeers and the Flyers.

Koch had no comment on what the status of his captain’s illness was and didn’t say how long he would be out for.

In eight games started this season, DeSantis leads the Minutemen with three goals on sixteen shots, including six on goal with one game winner. DeSantis also makes everyone around him better, as UMass has scored just one goal in its past two contests without him. Ben Arikian has helped facilitate four of the Minutemen’s nine goals this year, as DeSantis has been on the end of two of them.

The Owls are fourth in the conference with  1.30 goals allowed on average, while the Hawks are dead last, allowing an average of more than three goals per game.

“He’s a big presence on this team so obviously we miss not having him, but you have to adjust and you have to adapt,” Koch said.

Piekos officially starting

Goalkeepers Chris Piekos and Shane Curran-Hays have been successful thus far in replacing All-American netminder Zack Simmons.

After splitting time with Curran-Hays at the beginning of the season, Piekos started back-to-back matches against the Musketeers and Flyers this weekend, and is officially the starter in goal for UMass.

Against the Flyers, he had a career high eight saves, and got a hand on an impressive shot that gave Dayton the victory on Sunday. In the six contests Piekos has started, he has allowed just two goals in 596 minutes in net, and is a big reason why the Minutemen top the A-10 in goals allowed (0.60), goals against average (0.55) and are second in shutouts (5).

Piekos is ranked first in the country with a .943 save percentage, and fourth with a 0.30 goals against average. In conference play, Piekos leads the A-10 in goals against average and is tied for first in shutouts.

“He’s been a part of the group and he’s been a positive influence like everyone else has,” Koch said. “He’s doing a good job.”

David Brinch can be reached at dbrinch@student.umass.edu.

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