Morrissey leads UMass in offense as 2011 season begins
The Massachusetts women’s soccer team was handed its first loss of the season, losing 4-1 against Bryant at Rudd Field on Sunday.
The loss puts UMass at 2-1-1 this season, with Bryant improving its record to 2-1-1.
UMass had its chances offensively, collecting 22 shots and nine on goal.
The Bulldogs took an early 1-0 lead when a corner kick deflected off a Minutewomen defender into the net for an own goal, four minutes, 25 seconds into the game.
Bryant proceeded to take a 2-0 advantage when Ari Goldberg took a shot from the top of the box after a pass from Kaitlyn Hinck, scoring in the top right corner of the goal at the 10:33 mark.
The Bulldogs increased their lead to 3-0 in the 36th minute when Shana Follette received a pass from Jennifer Harding and rifled a shot from 25 yards out, passing goalkeeper Stephanie Gordon.
UMass cut the deficit to two just 19 seconds later when Deanna Colarossi stole the ball and scored inside the box.
Bryant sealed the victory in the 73rd minute when Follette scored her second goal of the game off another long-distance shot.
Morrissey scores pair
The Minutewomen came into the season with a key void to fill – replacing the production left behind from graduate Therese Smith, the team’s second-leading goal scorer last year.
UMass may have found the answer in senior and Cincinnati-transfer Julie Morrissey. Morrissey notched UMass’ two goals in the team’s 2-1 victory over Elon Friday at Rudd Field.
“I felt that we did a lot better in the first half connecting on passes and creating chances,” said Morrissey to UMassAthletics.com.
In regards to the team’s philosophy this season of controlling the midfield more than last year, Morrissey added, “We’ve progressively improved as the season’s gone along, working the ball through the defenders and up the field … Obviously we had our chances today with 16 shots, but we need to start burying them into the net.”
UMass took the lead in the 23rd minute when Colarossi fed Morrissey a cross pass which she buried to give the Minutewomen a 1-0 lead.
The Phoenix tied the game at 1-1 when Marissa Russo scored on a one-on-one matchup with Gordon at the net, notching her first collegiate goal in the 55th minute.
Despite Moa Mattsson’s missed penalty kick that would have put UMass ahead, the Minutewomen kept pushing.
With minutes remaining, junior Jess Howe fed Morrissey in the midfield as Morrissey split the defenders and took a shot that deflected off the left post and found the back of the net for the score. The goal gave UMass a 2-1 lead and would be the eventual game-winner.
The Minutewomen finished with a significant shot advantage of 16-4.
Home opener ends in draw
Despite 23 combined shots on goal, neither UMass nor Fairfield was able to take claim to victory in the home opener for the Minutewomen on Aug. 30.
“This is a game [with] two really even teams…it could have gone either way,” UMass coach Ed Matz said to UMassAthletics.com. “I think both teams played very, very solid defense. I think both goalkeepers did an excellent job of keeping their teams in the game. Both teams created chances offensively.”
In the opening half, Morrissey nearly put UMass ahead with two shots, both going wide of the goal, including a header that missed over the crossbar in the 23rd minute.
Colarossi and Morrissey each had opportunities offensively in the extra periods but couldn’t convert. Gordon stopped three shots on net to record her first shutout in a Minutewomen uniform.
UM tops UNH
In its first game of the season, Morrissey and sophomore Jen Houtmann sealed the victory for UMass, defeating New Hampshire 2-1 on the road in Durham, N.H.
The season-opening win marked the first for the program since 2007.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Gordon said to UMassAthletics.com. “We just have to keep working off of it and see where we can go this season. There are good things to come.”
In the 18th minute, UMass took the 1-0 lead when sophomore Cecilia Jensen connected a pass to the right of the box to Morrissey, who finished with a goal inside the left post.
The Minutewomen added a second score when Houtmann put in a rebound from Colarossi’s initial shot at 84:41.
Despite a late New Hampshire goal by Brooke Duchaney in the 89th minute, UMass was able to hold on for the win.
“I think the game went pretty much as we thought it would on the field,” Matz said to UMassAthletics.com. “By getting that first goal by Julie, we were able to take a deep breath and be a bit more comfortable and relaxed.”
Gordon finished with nine saves, two shy of her previous career-high during her time at Northeastern.
The Minutewomen will be back in action Friday when they travel to Cambridge to take on Harvard in their first night match of the year at 7 p.m.
Scott Cournoyer can be reached at email@example.com.