Scrolling Headlines:

UMass football fall camp: Jackson Porter adapting well following switch to wide receiver -

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Minutemen look for Robert Kitching to anchor defensive line -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Closing arguments delivered in Adam Liccardi rape trial -

Monday, August 31, 2015

Early goals sink UMass men’s soccer in loss to Saint Peter’s -

Monday, August 31, 2015

UMass field hockey splits weekend matches with UNH and BU -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass women’s soccer struck by injuries, struggles offensively as it falls to No. 24 Rutgers -

Sunday, August 30, 2015

UMass men’s soccer drops season opener to Utah Valley in overtime -

Friday, August 28, 2015

UMass football notebook: Jackson Porter moves to WR, UMass schedules 2016 game with South Carolina -

Friday, August 28, 2015

Former UMass student who accused four men of rape in 2012 testifies during trial Friday -

Friday, August 28, 2015

REPORT: UMass football’s Da’Sean Downey faces two assault charges in connection with February fight -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football Media Day: Catching up with Joe Colton -

Thursday, August 27, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Creating turnovers, forcing mistakes the focus for linebacking corps -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Jurors hear police interview, read text messages by defendants in third UMass rape trial -

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

‘Living at UMass’ app aims to make move-in weekend a breeze -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass rape trial halts abruptly, opening statements delivered Tuesday -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Jamal Wilson returns from injury with confidence he is ‘main guy’ at running back -

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

UMass football fall camp: Freshmen Sekai Lindsay, Andy Isabella impressing at running back -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass ranked in top 25 for LGBTQ students -

Monday, August 24, 2015

UMass football fall camp day five: Rodney Mills looks to continue bringing versatility to tight end position -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Route 9 Diner to reopen under new ownership -

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sam Koch and company split weekend series

If the Massachusetts men’s soccer team could’ve started off its eight-game homestand with two wins, it would have not only given the Minutemen the momentum going into the rest of their schedule, but also given coach Sam Koch the satisfaction of beating two skillfully sound teams.

Much to Koch’s disappointment, his team only managed to beat one of them.        

UMass (1-2-2) opened the weekend on a good note, defeating Central Florida and its high-powered offense, 2-1. The win was the first of the season for the Minutemen, who picked up goals from freshmen Brett Canepa and Tyler Cleverdon, who both scored their first collegiate goals.

After a scoreless first half, the Knights opened the scoring on Nick Robson’s goal, which was set up by a long, breakaway pass on the counter-attack. However, UCF’s lead lasted just 1:35 as Canepa answered right back with a header that found the back of the net.

The play started with senior Chris Vaccaro, who passed to midfielder Ben Arikian on the left goal line. Arikian then sent a cross to Canepa, who found the net.

“[My first goal] means absolutely nothing,” Canepa said, smiling. “I’m still the young bird on the team and we’ll just see where we go from here.”

The remainder of the match featured exciting back-and-forth action without a change in score. Just as the game appeared to be headed to overtime, Morgan Brandso sent a cross from the right sideline to Cleverdon, who headed in the game-winner with 41 seconds left.

“We were running down on time and I knew we needed to start playing balls in the box,” Cleverdon said. “I saw the ball get popped out to the side, so I made a run and I knew Morgan was going to put it in the box. I got a head on it and it worked out perfectly.”

Shane Curran-Hays started in goal for the Minutemen, stopping five of six shots en route to a victory. Curran-Hays and fellow goalkeeper Chris Piekos are currently in a platoon situation, as neither player has assumed the starting position.

“It’s been going on forever and it’s great competition,” Curran-Hays said regarding splitting time with Piekos. “I’ll make a good save, he’ll make a good save, and we’re keeping an eye on each other. At the end of the day, though, I have the utmost respect for him and he has the utmost respect for me. Obviously I want to play and he wants to play and that’s what makes it good.”

Following their victory, the Minutemen couldn’t help but look towards hosting No. 24-ranked Indiana on Sunday.

“This first win means a lot,” Cleverdon added, hoping the energy would carry over to Sunday’s match against the Hoosiers. “It wasn’t by any means a great win and I thought we could have played a much better game.”

The energy seemed to carry over, but UMass could not overcome tough bounces and Indiana’s top players as the Minutemen dropped a 2-1 decision on Sunday.

The first half was evenly-played without many scoring opportunities for either team. Indiana’s Will Bruin opened the scoring during the 50th minute when he netted his team-leading fifth goal of the year – a low shot from 15 yards out to beat UMass goalkeeper Chris Piekos to the left post.

UMass freshman forward Hellah Sidibe scored his first goal in the 56th minute, which tied the score at one. Sidibe passed one defender along the right goal line and dribbled towards the goal before striking a left-footed, off-angle shot in between IU goalkeeper Luis Soffner and the right post.

“It’s pretty exciting [to score my first goal] but it really doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win,” Sidibe said. “I put the team’s success first and personal glory second. It was a good goal and a confidence booster but it doesn’t mean anything if we don’t win.”

UMass had ample opportunities to score in the game, but ran into misfortune on several shots by defender Andrew Henshaw. With 4:26 remaining, Henshaw, delivering a corner kick, struck the ball towards the back post. The ball landed and was inches away from crossing the goal line before an Indiana defender kicked it away. Henshaw came up just short again with 15 seconds left when he took a shot off Arikian’s pass that hit the right post.

“That was frustrating,” Koch said. “Some years the ball hits the post and goes in. Right now the ball is hitting the post and bouncing out. We just have to make sure to create more chances.”

 Defensively, UMass played a solid game and stuck to Koch’s game plan. Both of Indiana’s goals came from their top scorers, Will Bruin (five goals) and Andy Adlar (four). Bruin’s goal came off a breakaway – something Koch did not want to give to one of the nation’s top teams.

“Bruin at the top was a handful,” Koch said. I thought we handled him pretty well except for that one time [on the breakaway].”

Adlar’s goal proved to be the game-winner, when he took advantage of Piekos’ aggressive charge on a loose ball. Adlar reached the loose ball first and fired a shot underneath the diving Piekos into the empty net.

The Minutemen’s homestand continues Wednesday, when they host Vermont at 3:30 p.m. on Rudd Field.

“One thing we have to do is keep our heads up, because we know we’re a better team than any other team that comes to our field here,” Sidibe said. “We can’t get in our own way because it’s so early in the season. We have a big game on Wednesday against Vermont so we have to look forward to that and forget about the past.”

Steve Levine can be reached at slevine@student.umass.edu.

Leave A Comment