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February 21, 2017

Minutewomen to face ailing Rams on Sunday

Geoff King/Collegian

The Massachusetts women’s soccer team will return to action on the road as it travels to play against Atlantic 10 conference opponent Rhode Island on Sunday.

Both UMass (5-8-0, 2-2-0 in A-10) and URI (1-11-1, 1-3-0 in A-10) are coming off losses via the shutout. The Rams closed out their non-conference schedule on Wednesday afternoon with a 3-0 loss to Brown.

The game was a tale of two halves as the Rams shut the Bears out in the first half but allowed three in the second stanza. Brown outshot URI 14-3, with the Rams putting just one shot on goal the entire game.

The Minutewomen split their previous weekend series, with a 3-0 win against Xavier on Friday but most recently lost to 5-0 to Dayton on Sunday. The A-10 conference-leading Flyers picked up their ninth-straight win to move to 12-2-0 and 4-0 in A-10 play.

UMass fell to a strong DU offensive effort, getting outshot 24-8. Freshman Emersyn Pullan played the first half and recorded four saves while allowing three goals. Sophomore Emily Cota came in the second half to turn away two while allowing the same amount of goals.

Sydney Stoll was the difference-maker against Xavier, which was her third game back. She scored two goals on just two shots. Stoll helped UMass to its second two-game winning streak since Sept. 12th when they defeated non-conference opponents New Hampshire and Fairfield. Smith added a goal to her season tally of five. Meghan Collins distributed the ball well with two assists and Pullan recorded her third shut out of her collegiate career.

Ed Matz’ offensive tactics have proven successful as the Maroon and White have already scored 21 goals surpassing their 2009 total of fifteen goals in 19 games. The current total is the most by a UMass team since 2007 when it scored 28 goals in 17 games under coach Jim Rudy. 

URI’s sole victory came against Saint Louis whom the Minutewomen defeated on Oct. 3rd. The Rams also picked up a 1-1 tie against UNH in their season opener. Both teams have suffered losses to Charlotte and Dayton, but the Minutewomen shutout the Musketeers whom URI lost 3-0 to in its most recent conference match. URI is currently on a four-game losing streak.

“URI is a very physical team and we are going to have to concentrate on putting pressure on them the whole game,” Matz said.

The Minutewomen fared well against the Rams in 2009 with a 3-2 win on Oct. 17th. Therese Smith scored the winning goal in that match in the 86th minute. Ashley Hamel had an assist while Cota recorded eight saves between the pipes. UMass leads the all-time series 15-7.

The Rams currently sit towards the bottom of the A-10 standings with three points. UMass is tied for fourth with Xavier and Duquesne with six points. After the blowout loss to the Flyers the Minutewomen close out the season against Rhode Island, Temple, Saint Joseph’s, Fordham and LaSalle; all of whom currently rank below UMass in the A-10 standings.

UMass is 2-5-0 overall on the road this season. The conference matchup will begin at 1 p.m. at the URI Soccer Complex.

Michael Counos can be reached at mcounos@student.umass.edu.

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