With DeSantis out, Henshaw, Amick step up
Even without their leading scorer, the Massachusetts soccer team generated two scores in a win Sunday over Saint Joseph’s and a double overtime loss to Temple on Friday.
Senior forward Mark DeSantis, who has been out with an illness, did not see action in this weekend’s matchups. DeSantis also sat out last weekend in a 1-0 victory over Xavier on Oct. 9 and a 1-0 double overtime loss against Dayton two days later.
After falling to the Owls on Friday, the Minutemen (5-4-3, 2-2-0 Atlantic 10) knew that they had to generate offense, even without DeSantis.
“Not having Mark is a huge loss, and today, guys did what we’re supposed to do in the second half, and they got the rewards,” UMass coach Sam Koch said after Sunday’s win.
Junior midfielder Stuart Amick and sophomore defender Andrew Henshaw each scored in the second half for UMass, as the Minutemen outshot the Hawks 11-1 and earned five corner kicks in the second frame.
“[Henshaw’s] got a good knack for the goal when he gets in front of it, and we’ve been able to get some situations, and he’s capitalized when he’s had to,” Koch said.
Henshaw also scored the game winner against the Musketeers, as the defense spearheaded the Minutemen’s fifth shutout of the season last Friday.
In all 12 games so far in 2009, Henshaw is third on the team behind DeSantis and junior Ben Arikian in points, with two scores and one assist on four shots on goal. DeSantis leads the team with three goals, while Arikian has two goals and three assists.
Henshaw started 15 games as a freshman last season, and had one goal and one assist in 2008.
If Henshaw can keep producing on the offensive end and leading the defense and DeSantis returns, the Minutemen could finish their A-10 schedule in strong fashion against Rhode Island, Saint Bonaventure and Duquesne coming up later this month.
Amick helped fill DeSantis’s void with two solid games this weekend. On Friday, he helped on the defensive side of the ball by keeping the Minutemen in the game against a potent Owls attack led by J.T. Noone, another candidate besides UMass’ Arikian on the Hermann Trophy Preseason Watch List. On Sunday, Amick was more of a presence offensively, registering three shots, including two on goal, with the most important one coming in the form of a score to put the Minutemen up 1-0 against the Hawks.
Koch also made adjustments to his roster knowing that UMass had a low-scoring opponent scheduled. Arikian, Amick and redshirt sophomore defender Sam DeNormandie came off the bench against the Hawks.
Amick and Arikian, who normally start, came in around the 27 minute mark after Koch saw the Minutemen go scoreless.
Freshman Brodie Steigerwald and sophomore defender Michael Doherty started their first collegiate games on Sunday, helping to fill in for DeSantis. While he did not register a shot on goal in the game, Steigerwald was a presence on the field Sunday with his 6-foot-3 frame. Along with Steigerwald, junior Chris Vaccaro started at midfield for the first time since the Minutemen played Northeastern back on Sept. 19.
After back-to-back losses, UMass has six shutouts on the season, which is tops in the conference.
With the defense already shutting down opponents, the offense showed Sunday what it is capable of when the Minutemen execute correctly.
“They created a lot of chances, and when you do that, you’re going to score goals, and they did,” Koch said.
David Brinch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.