Senior Day is a special time of the season for the older players on the roster.
The day is theirs to shine, their time to grab recognition and applause from their teammates, their coaches and all who come to cheer on their team.
The seniors on the Massachusetts women’s soccer team made sure to take their day and extend it throughout the whole weekend, as they finished their careers on their home field in solid fashion.
“All of the seniors came to play this weekend,” UMass coach Ed Matz said. “As I have said before this season, they would be the key to this team’s success over the course of the year. This weekend, they really came through and led the team to an important pair of wins.”
“The thing is, the freshmen are not fully aware of how close to the end of the season we are,” Matz added. “They are kind of naive in the fact that they do not know what to expect or how to react to the pressure that comes in trying to earn a playoff spot. The seniors did an excellent job this weekend in showing them how to perform. The freshmen are responding to senior leadership in the exact way I hoped they would.”
The senior who made the biggest impact on the weekend was undoubtedly Therese Smith.
Smith scored one of five goals in the team’s dominating 5-0 win against Temple on Friday. Her second goal of the weekend would be the overtime golden goal in UMass’ exciting 1-0 win against Saint Joseph’s on Sunday.
“It was really a big game for us,” Smith said. “We knew we could score goals, and we proved that in both games this weekend. As great as it is to win, we can’t settle yet; we have to keep winning if we want to make it into the playoffs.”
“It did feel really good that we could win in overtime today,” Smith added. “To score the overtime goal on Senior Day is a great feeling, but I’m really just happy we won.”
In honor of Senior Day, the numbers of each of the seniors were taped up to the fence opposite of the benches. Smith’s number 14 found itself in good company.
Ashley Hamel (20), Kelsey Anderson (2), Alyssa Visconti (3) and Sydney Stoll (4) all were honored along with Smith for their hard work and four years of service to the team. Combined, the five Minutewomen played in 304 games and have made a lasting impact on the club.
A sixth number also was honored with the group, though it was not seen on the field of play this season.
Senior Meghan Gould (11) was declared medically unable to play for the Maroon and White this season due to previously suffered injuries. In her three seasons at UMass, Gould stuck out as an outstanding defensive player, playing in 44 games starting 32 of them. Her contributions to the club were not forgotten, however, and it is clear that many of her former teammates still see her as an important part of the club.
The seniors will now work to lead the team through the final three games of the season to what they hope will be another Atlantic 10 playoff berth in their collegiate careers.
David Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.